• To borrow from David Byrne: This ain't no Mudd Club, or CBGBs, for that matter. The bold-face names were nonetheless out in force at a preview on Tuesday night for superchef Daniel Boulud's new casual Bowery restaurant, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, situated just a few doorways from where its now shuttered namesake presided. Some of New York's top names in cooking attended the late-night party that was way more Boulud's (high design) living room than white tablecloth. The vibe was festive and relaxed as guests snacked on shredded pork burgers and downed craft beers. A happy Boulud circulated through the crowd, which included chef pals Marcus Samuelsson, Wylie Dufresne and Bobby Flay. Andrew Carmellini, formerly of A Voce and now soon to open Locanda Verde, and Paul Liebrandt of Corton stuck close to the loftlike bar in the front. Jean-Georges Vongerichten arrived late, toting a huge roasting pan for a present. Music from Neil Young, the Allman Brothers and yes, the Talking Heads, kept the crowd in a good mood. "Where are your Châteauneuf glasses?" teased one guest, as Daniel Johnnes, Boulud's longtime wine director, scanned the open shelves for barware to pour a large-format bottle he had just opened to celebrate. Johnnes shrugged and grinned. Unfiltered wonders what New York is coming to: Separate stems for Bordeaux and Burgundy on the Bowery?
• So you're the best at blind tasting: You can discern Pomerol from St.-Emilion; vintages never get past you; you're legendary for your ability to identify a winemaker's style. Well, we're no longer impressed. Researchers in France have now employed mass spectrometry (a practice whereby a sample of a given compound is zapped with an electron beam and the results are read through an electromagnetic field where changes to their mass can be recorded) to raise the bar. Using a set of wines that were 10 years old, samples were submitted to this test with the intent of identifying the forests from which the barrel wood was harvested. Among the samples were wines that used nine different forests in their barrel program, all of which were correctly identified, every time, according to the findings published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. We can only assume that the next logical step will be identifying the fossilized dinosaur remains in a vineyard's subsoil. Unfiltered is already boning up on correctly identifying that hint of pterodactyl talon terroir.
Pop goes the Maestro, and the myth that Champagne must be bottled under cork.
• The sound of the cork coming out of a sparkling wine bottle elicits a somewhat Pavlovian reaction from Unfiltered. Only problem? We hate cork taint. But the idea of opening a Champagne bottle without that familiar pop of the cork is, well, a little sad. Enter Alcan Packaging Capsules' new Maestro Champagne closure, a sparkling wine seal which, when opened, still makes a festive and unmistakable "pop." How does it work? A lever on the side of the bottle lifts the closure out of the neck of the bottle, similar to a crown cap and bottle opener all in one. Duval-Leroy will be the first Champagne house to test-drive the model in the public market, with their Clos des Bouveries 2004 bottling. Cheers to Duval-Leroy, and good riddance to corked Champagne.
• It's well-known in the wine world that you can't call your wine "Champagne" unless it's produced in that French region, by the méthode Champenoise—but one Australian couple learned the hard way that the French will also object to the unauthorized use of the word in other contexts. According to a report in Australia's Daily Telegraph, Kyra and Stuart Holley of Coffs Harbour, Australia, recently started a gift basket delivery business, packaging and selling high-end items including Champagne. When they attempted to trademark the name "Champagne Messenger," they received a letter from attorneys representing the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), claiming that the couple's business name would "damage the name of Champagne in Australia, which in turn would damage the commercial interests of Champagne makers," Kyra Holley told the Telegraph, adding, "The irony is that in selling Champagne, we're increasing their sales." With better things to do than battle the CIVC, the couple has since changed the name of their business to Bubbly to Go.
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