• Following Bollinger's homage to James Bond and his bullet, now comes Dom Pérignon's tribute to Claudia Schiffer's bosom. The breast-inspired bowl is the latest creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for Moët & Chandon's famous Champagne brand. This artwork is supposed to be a modern version of the bowl from the dining service made especially for Queen Marie Antoinette back in 1787. Legend has it that it was the exact size of one of her breasts, and used, in turn, to model the well-known coupe-shaped Champagne glass. Lagerfeld's offering rests upon a stand comprising three porcelain replicas of Dom Pérignon and a platter bearing the signatures of the designer and his favorite top model. The creation is sold along with a bottle of 1995 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque, but some still might find it a tad bit too expensive at $3,150 a pop, considering you don't get to take the real Schiffer home to share the bottle with you.
• The Michelin red guide's reviewers have taken to the streets of Hong Kong. This week, a Michelin restaurant guide to Hong Kong and Macao was published for the first time, with 22 Hong Kong eateries earning at least one star and six restaurants earning stars in Macao. Of course, fine dining existed in China long before the Michelin guide came along, as readers of the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards and Dining Guide well know: The only restaurant in Macao to earn the coveted three stars in the Michelin guide, chef Joël Robuchon's Robuchon a Galera, was awarded Wine Spectator's highest honor, the Grand Award, in 2005. Other Chinese restaurants holding Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards that were confirmed by the new Michelin guide include Best of Award of Excellence winners Caprice and L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which each earned two stars, and Restaurant Petrus, which earned one. Unfiltered congratulates all the restaurants earning praise in this year's Michelin guide.
|Rumor has it that each day, a new baby Yquem half-bottle appears in the nebuchadnezzar's punt.|
• For those occasions when 40 half-bottles of Château d'Yquem would just be too much of a hassle, the world-renowned Bordeaux sweet wine producer has announced sales of the 2007 vintage in nebuchadnezzars. This is the second vintage to be offered in this format. The 2005 nebuchadnezzars, which will be ready for pick up after VinExpo in June of next year, sold out quickly at around $17,000 a pop. Though the advance sale of the limited-edition, supersized Yquem may seem like an anachronistic throwback of boom times now passed, Robert Lench, managing director of Bordeaux Wine Investments, says he expects sales to go well despite the gloomy economic climate and the 10,750 euro price tag. He credits the one-two whammy of reports of a classic-rated vintage (James Suckling rated the 2007 Yquem 97-100 points in a barrel tasting) and interest from buyers of the 2005 vintage in building a collection of large-format Yquems from excellent vintages. And investors looking to make a buck will have the advantage of an extremely long lead time waiting for these bottles to mature, making it likely that these bottles will sit through a few more cycles of economic ups and downs.
|Drouhin's new solar energy system produces enough juice to sell some back to the electric company. Where can we get one?|
• In November, Domaine Drouhin, the American arm of famed Burgundy producer Joseph Drouhin, completed work on what is now the Oregon wine industry's largest solar energy system. Covering three-quarters of an acre and made up of 500 photovoltaic panels, the 94.5 kilowatt system will ultimately supply up to 70 percent of the winery's total energy needs, according to David Millman, managing director at Domaine Drouhin. He explained, "We are on a net system. We sell energy back to Pacific Gas & Electric. We get both a bill and a check from them every month." Oregon's aggressive stance on alternative energy usage has helped make expensive solar-energy systems affordable for Drouhin and other Oregon wineries. Says Millman, "The payback is that in about four or five years your initial investment is covered." Perhaps more important than the energy generated and the savings made, according to Millman, is the commitment to renewable energy resources. "Our solar panels are billboards for the cause," he said. "It's a sign of commitment for us and others involved in alternative-energy production and use." And that's going to make Unfiltered's smile that much brighter the next time we uncork one of Drouhin's environmentally friendly Oregon Pinots.