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Unfiltered: Adam Sandler Gets Medieval in a Napa Wine Castle

Plus, prosecco in the dictionary, wine in the jail cell and golf in the wine

Posted: July 9, 2008

• Napa vintner Daryl Sattui's Castello di Amorosa, a 121,000-square-foot replica of a 12th century Tuscan-style castle (and functioning winery) in Calistoga, Calif., now has one more title to add to its resume: Hollywood movie set. In June, the winery closed down for a week to accommodate filming for Walt Disney's forthcoming feature film, Bedtime Stories, following nearly a month of preparations during which the castle was transformed into a medieval village complete with ox carts, blacksmith stalls and a drawbridge. The movie, set for release in December, is a family comedy about a hotel handyman, played by Adam Sandler, who tells bedtime stories to his niece and nephew that begin to come true. Disney selected Sattui's Castello, which opened to the public last year, for its authenticity—the eight-story castle boasts original frescoes and sculptures, defensive towers, a moat and even a torture chamber. Unfiltered can't blame Disney for wanting to shoot a movie in a winery, which has obvious benefits, but we would like to know why we weren't asked to be extras. We're ready for our close-up, just so long as we're not in any scenes involving the torture chamber.

• It's official: prosecco is a word. The term for Italian sparkling wine has finally made it into the 2008 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, after first appearing in an English language publication back in 1881. Prosecco is also joined by pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish); soju (Korean rice vodka) and edamame (immature soybeans). According to Merriam-Webster, wine- and food-related words are entering the American lexicon (and therefore the dictionary) at a faster rate than any other time in the book's history. When Unfiltered asked Michael Belanger, an associate editor at Merriam-Webster, about what sources the dictionary's editors use to find and verify "new" food and wine words, he replied, "In addition to being our number-one source for wine-related words, Wine Spectator has been a very productive source for culinary terms and, indeed, a vast array of words that relate to travel and the good life in general." Belanger admitted, however, that there's always more work to be done, saying, "We may be a little overdue on entering [the grape name] Viognier."

• Last week, Scotland's Edinburgh Evening News reported that a man who had just been released from jail in that city decided to sell two bottles of wine to pay the train fare that would get him back home to Liverpool, England. There was just one problem: he'd stolen the wine. Paul Quirk, 33, penniless upon being granted his freedom, stole two bottles of wine, whose total value was the equivalent of about $14, from a Threshers store in the hopes of being arrested and released with a travel warrant back home. Instead, he got four weeks in custody—in Edinburgh!

• Meanwhile, in other constabulary news, nine inmates at the Robeson County Jail in Lumberton, N.C., were charged last week with fermenting orange juice-based "wine" behind bars, according to the Fayetteville Observer. O.J., say the jailhouse officials, is often a key ingredient in making hoosegow hooch. The prisoners reportedly added sweet food items from their daily meals to their makeshift beverage in order to facilitate fermentation. Unfiltered imagines that the residual sugar in the inmates' "jug wine" was somewhere between toe-curling and ideally suited for the emerging palate of a 4-year-old.

• If, like Unfiltered, you're feeling a bit guilty for getting Dad another tie this past Father's Day, you might want to consider surprising him (Bastille Day, anyone?) with a new SpoonStopper. A spoon-what, you ask? In 19th-century golfing terms, "spoons" were the equivalent to the modern-day three-wood. NeverUnder, a Connecticut-based retailer of Laguiole corkscrews, has created a line of bottle stoppers fashioned from the heads of antique golf clubs. Sawed off at the neck, the old club head is then fitted with a carbon shaft and cork. Dad can save his leftover wine and show off his golf antiques at the same time. Priced at around $45 and sporting the scars of more than a few rounds of golf, they're fashioned from classic brands including Wilson, Spalding, Walter Hagen and Dunlop. Of course, these things look to be rather top-heavy, so although we haven't yet tested one, Unfiltered suggests you keep your club-stoppered bottles from the corner of the table (or golf cart).

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