Ponies, celebrities, oceans of bubbly and clementine orange as far as the eye can see—what else could it be but the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, Unfiltered's favorite chichi A-list soirée disguised as a sporting event. Last weekend at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., just opposite Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Champagne house held its 10th annual match. The all-day affair promoted the house's newest label, Veuve Clicquot Rich, and provided a lovely outdoor venue where the beautiful and famous could rub shoulders. Oh, and there was also a polo match. This year's event served a good cause, with a portion of the proceeds going to two non-profits: The Keep a Child Alive foundation helps children and families affected by AIDS, and the Friends of the Liberty State Park promotes park upkeep and conservation.
A goofy Neil Patrick Harris gave the opening remarks—noting that he knew nothing about the sport of polo—while stars like Nicole Kidman, Kate Mara, Priyanka Chopra, Freida Pinto and Unfiltered cheered on the match. Down on the turf, Ralph Lauren model/veteran pro polo player Ignacio Figueras garnered the most applause. (Unfiltered readers may remember his polo-ground showdown with Prince Harry.) The day wrapped with a three-song set by Alicia Keys.
While Team Veuve Clicquot and Team Liberty Comets faced off on the field, spectators took aim at 850 cases of VC Brut Yellow Label, rosé, Rich Classic and Rich Rosé, the latter being sweeter Champagnes served over ice and garnished with cucumber and lime. Team Veuve Clicquot won the match 9 to 7, and Figueras won Most Valuable Player—human player, that is. “Let’s bring out the Best Pony!” exclaimed Harris. “The Best Pony Award goes to Via Lactea. Congratulations, Via Lactea. You’ll remember this your entire life. [Pause] No kicking.”
Northern Italy is home to one of the world's fashion capitals—and also to the vineyards that produce Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio. This coincidence seems to have occurred to the design minds at Ecco Domani: In 2015, the brand partnered with fashion superstar Zac Posen for a springtime label design, and now, the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio bottle is getting a Golden State makeover. Designer Christian Siriano, originally of Project Runway fame, wanted to evoke olden-days SoCal glamor, incorporating Ecco's signature bright green and a hot-pink palm-leaf pattern into the design.
“When I was creating the design, I had the wine’s flavor profile in the back of my mind," Siriano told Unfiltered in an email. "While the inspiration mainly comes from 1960s Palm Springs, the palm-leaf design gives a nod to the wine’s floral and tropical fruit notes.”
You wouldn’t think that something dubbed "Big Machine Platinum Filtered Premium Vodka" would pair with songs titled “Love Story” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.” But Big Machine Label Group—the Nashville record label of country and country-ish musical acts like Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Rascal Flatts—is getting into the liquor game with the release of some good ol' fashioned Tennessee, uh, vodka. Scott Borchetta, Big Machine CEO and former race-car driver, explained in a statement that he wanted to give the fans something to sip while jamming to his label's tunes. “With the launch of Big Machine Premium Vodka, we are now offering a superior product that perfectly complements the music we take such great pride in." Tenn. South Distillery in Lynnville, Tenn., is behind the 'shine, though at the moment it's unclear who (if any) of the label’s list of fancy faces will be the brand’s spokesdrinker.
The wine world has its share of polymaths, and Dennis Scholl is certainly among them. Scholl is a 10-time regional Emmy Award–winning filmmaker for documentaries about artists like Tracey Emin, Wynton Marsalis and Frank Gehry; a philanthropic leader whose organization raised some $200 million for arts initiatives in America; a longtime collector of aboriginal Australian art; and a cofounder of Betts & Scholl wine. Last month, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University (which is also home to the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory) accoladed Scholl, an alumnus, with its Art Transforms Award. Oh, and … Scholl just released the first vintage of his Mother Tongue Shiraz (2014) from Australia. Did you catch all that?
Sponsored in part by Bacardi, the award ceremony praised Scholl’s dedication to philanthropy and the arts. "I am honored to receive the inaugural Art Transforms Award ... Along with my wife, Debra, our work with artists and museums has been a lifelong passion.” Scholl told Unfiltered via email. “As an international art collector for 40 years, I was surprised at how many parallels there are between the art world and the wine world. Both are aesthetic pursuits that don't necessarily reveal themselves without a commitment of time, energy and passion on the part of the participant.”
In Mother Tongue Shiraz, Scholl unites his passions: The wine, from 82-year-old Barossa vines, features a label design from Australian artist Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, a depiction of the desert landscape of Tjapaltjarri’s ancestral home in Western Australia.
Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.