Last week at the 81st Masters Tournament, Spanish golfer Sergio García finally won his first major title after two decades of near-misses, earning him Augusta's coveted green jacket and a lifetime of bragging rights. But Unfiltered is most envious of a less official prize: García's week spent with el jefe of Spanish-American cuisine and García family friend José Andrés. The affable chef behind 16 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners, from his original Jaleo to culinary funhouse Minibar, stayed with the García family during Masters week in Augusta. The chef made himself a useful guest, cooking up Spanish specialties for Sergio and crew when they weren't on the links, even teaming with Garcia's longtime caddie, Glen Murray, to make paella for the bunch. When García sunk the final putt, Andrés jumped in as a translator for the champion's father, Victor. "It was like a little kid, seeing the expression of joy on his face," Andrés told Unfiltered, calling it "a dream" to see his friend don the green jacket. Then, they celebrated the Unfiltered way: with copious amounts of wine. "We got our hands on anything available and we finished it," Andrés said, probably not joking. "We celebrated with a lot of Champagne."
Par for the course for the altruism-minded toque, Andrés also stepped up as chair of the first-ever Taste of the Master Chefs charity dinner, where talents like Hugo Ortega of Caracol, Steve DiFillippo of Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse and E.J. Hodgkinson of King + Duke cooked up their finest for golf greats to raise money for the Augusta chapter of the Salvation Army. Andrés is already making return plans: Next year, García will be in charge of the Masters Champions Dinner menu, and Andrés hopes once again to lend a hand. "We'll see what Sergio wants to eat and serve; it will probably be Spanish. It's a club with great traditions, I understand that, and hopefully they will let me help advise the menu." Slow (golf) clap all around.
If you're like Unfiltered, your social media feeds all started hyperventilating at once this week as drinkers of a certain age discovered they could now buy rosé wine in a "40"—the beloved 40 oz. screwcap bottle in which the malt liquor from one's $3 drinking days is traditionally packaged. Surefire Millennial bait, we thought: rosé, but in the bottle celebrated in the Sublime song "40 Oz. to Freedom" Unfiltered and millions of other 14-year-olds learned to play on guitar so we could pretend we played guitar! But this week, we learned none other than two-time Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning restaurateur and sommelier Patrick Cappiello, along with importer Chris Desor, is the man behind Forty Ounce Wines (OK, they're technically a liter), inspired by the nostalgia of "my early drinking in high school, [which] was like 40 oz. when I was skateboarding."
Cappiello is as prominent a champion of boutique Euro wines as anyone in the Manhattan scene—such bottles formed the backbone of his list at 2015 Grand Award inductee Pearl & Ash, which is currently closed and relocating, as well as his Best of Award of Excellence winner Rebelle—so these 40s aren't just gimmick wine. The first bottling, a Muscadet from young Loire grower Julien Braud, is "30-year-old [vines], all organically farmed Melon de Bourgogne in Julien's backyard," Cappiello told Unfiltered. Braud's young vines of Cab Franc, Pineau d'Aunis and Gamay supply the rosé; both retail around $15 a liter. As for the bottle idea, Cappiello had noticed Braud kept liter bottles in the cellar for selling grape juice at the local market and proposed putting wine in it, explaining the special place malt liquor holds in American hearts. (It's not really a thing abroad: "They don't have ounces in France!" Cappiello laughed. "[Braud] had no idea what we were talking about. 40s do not exist" in the western Loire.) The project is part of Cappiello's greater goal "to try to make wine more approachable, take away some of that elitism, some of the snobbery people associate with wine." He may have been too successful: After all the publicity, Cappiello is headed back to France next week to see about blending more rosé with the Brauds and get the conversation going on bottling a red under 40. Sublime sang "the answer's always waiting at the liquor store"—but can you get your 40 oz. to freedom at Cappiello's Michelin-starred Rebelle as well, now? "It will be on the list."
Major League Baseball has been putting wine on the roster more and more in recent seasons, and fans tend to root for the home-team wine: Hence, the New York Yankees calling up the Finger Lakes' Anthony Road, the Seattle Mariners fielding a wine from Columbia Valley's Maryhill and even the Phillies drafting Pennsylvania winery Chaddsford for the MLB Club Series wines. Clinching a berth with a wine-country team, then, is quite the feat. So kudos to Silver Oak, which announced a three-year partnership with the San Francisco Giants this week. Besides a well-known shared affinity for wood in the wine and the sport (in barrels and bats, respectively), "we have loved the Giants since our launch in 1972 and are humbled to hear from their team and fans that our brand will enhance the ballpark experience," Silver Oak president and CEO David Duncan told Unfiltered in an email. The Napa and Alexander Valley Cabernets, as well as wines from sister winery Twomey, will be poured at AT&T Park, and the Giants will be rebranding their luxury suite and offering Silver Oak memorabilia cases as well; already, a replica of the iconic Silver Oak water tower has been spotted photobombing the stadium.
The pairing made sense to the team as well. “Silver Oak has been marking Giants’ milestones throughout the years with the creation of commemorative Silver Oak large-format bottles—from Orlando Cepeda’s Hall of Fame induction in 1999, to honoring Marco Scutaro’s 1,000th MLB game, and just last year with the gifting of a double magnum to Bruce Bochy to commemorate his 800th win as skipper of the Giants," explained Jason Pearl, senior vice president, partnerships & business development, in a statement to Unfiltered. And so a farm-to-team relationship was born.
You know that feeling when you just have so much wine that you don't even notice when some of it goes missing? Yeah, Unfiltered doesn't either. But that's what happened to one unlucky French company. Only when Loire-based négociant Joseph-Verdier was doing inventory for 2016 did it discover 65,000 bottles of wine worth $106,000 had gone missing from the cellars.
Things get weirder. There was no sign of a break-in at the facility, which certainly suggests the culprit came from inside the maison. After this strange affaire, the CEO of parent group Taillan, Denis Merlaut, filed a complaint with the French authorities. He hopes they will find the perp, as well as the potential resellers. "When you steal that much wine, it's not to drink it," Merlaut told the French newspaper Ouest France. No?
Following the success of its 2016 live auction, which raised $693,800, the Sonoma County Barrel Auction returns on April 21 for its third annual go-round in Santa Rosa, Calif. Hosted by the Sonoma County Vintners, a non-profit that promotes the Sonoma wine region, the event will feature 90 one-of-a-kind lots from top area vineyards and winemakers. Jim Bundschu of Gundlach Bundschu, Jim Pedroncelli of Pedroncelli and Angelo Sangiacomo of Sangiacomo Family Vineyards will all be in attendance as guests of honor. Among this year’s highlights are 20-case Pinot Noir packages like Kosta Browne’s “The Shire of Freestone” from Freestone Vineyard, and Williams Selyem's "Sonata No. 3."
"We created the Sonoma County Barrel Auction three years ago to showcase the best this region has to offer, and the 2017 auction lots live up to that challenge like never before," Sonoma County Vintners executive director Jean Arnold Sessions said in a press release.
The week’s charity wine auction buzz then spreads to Dallas the following day, April 22, at the Côtes du Coeur. Over the past 25 years, the auction has raised more than $30 million for the American Heart Association (AHA), which funds cardiovascular research and heart health education across the country. Wines up for grabs this year come from Darioush, Beaulieu Vineyard, Beringer, Pahlmeyer and others; in addition to the auction, a chef dinner will be served up by Dallas veteran Richard Chamberlain. Top packages on the block include a three-night stay at Merry Edwards’ new guesthouse in Russian River Valley and a private tour and tasting at Napa favorites Celani, Clif Family, Cimarossa, Dakota Shy and Relic.
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