• If not for chef Emeril Lagasse, one Ohio woman may have lost her recent Iron Chef-style battle with some unwelcome intruders. As first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday, four teens demanding money entered the Elyria, Ohio, home of Ellen Basinski, who reached for an Emeril Lagasse-branded saucepan when one of the intruders emptied her purse and began to go through the items. Basinski, a mother of five sons who told the CBS Early Show that "young men do not intimidate me," hit one of the teens on the head with the pan, which was subsequently confiscated by the police as evidence after they arrested the suspects. Basinski's son e-mailed Lagasse to let him know about the role his cookware played in the incident, and Lagasse has since sent the woman a new set of cookware to replace the confiscated pot. No word as to whether Basinski, age 70, uttered the chef's catchphrase ("Bam!") while defending herself and her home.
|"Green Brut": Bruce Banner is kicking himself for not thinking of this first.|
• When we heard that President Barack Obama is hosting a St. Patrick's Day dinner at the White House we couldn't envision the new commander in chief and his guests sipping on green beer, so we were surprised to learn that a green beverage will in fact be served—green sparkling wine produced by Domaine Chandon. According to a Chandon spokeswoman, the winery was contacted by an assistant usher at the White House with a request to make a green sparkling wine for the event. To produce the unusually colored fizz the winery is adding green flavorless food dye, the same type used by many bars to color their beers on St. Patrick's Day, to a limited number of its Domaine Chandon Brut California Classic NV bottles. The wine will be poured at a dinner commemorating the meeting between the president and new Irish Taoiseach (a position similar to that of a prime minister) Brian Cowen at the White House on March 17. Domaine Chandon will also be serving the green fizz at the winery on the same day. Unfiltered loves the idea in theory. In practice, however, we're cringing at the thought of our president and foreign dignitaries talking international policy with green-stained teeth.
• Call it California's first kosher cult Cabernet: Next month, the nation's largest producer of kosher wines, Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, Calif., will release the first ever kosher wine from historic To Kalon vineyard.The Cabernet, of which only 300 cases have been made, will be priced at $200 a bottle. "This is the most exciting wine I have ever made ... it gives me goose bumps," says Herzog winemaker Joe Hurliman. The wine will be the first single-vineyard wine released under the Herzog Generation VIII label and celebrates the longstanding winemaking legacies of both the vineyard and the Herzog family—Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz-Josef reputedly bestowed the title of baron upon Philip Herzog in appreciation for his services as winemaker to the royal court more than a century ago, and To Kalon vineyard was originally planted by Hiram Crabb in the mid-1800s. Today To Kalon is owned by two of Napa Valley's premier names in wine: Robert Mondavi Winery and Napa Valley grower Andy Beckstoffer. Fruit for Herzog's wine comes from the Beckstoffer portion of the vineyard. Unfiltered is happy to cheer any kosher wine that aims to compete among Napa's best. L'Chaim!
|From left: Finger puppets Mondavi, Harlan, Khaledi, Barrett and Staglin. Use as voodoo dolls is strictly prohibited.|
• A winery in Mister Rogers' neighborhood? That's Unfiltered's guess as to where we might see the new California winemaking icon knit finger puppets now on sale at Darioush winery in Napa. The line of puppets is made of 100 percent pima cotton and there are two sets available (one for each hand): "Wine Lovers of History" features digit-sized dolls of Dionysus, Jesus, 13th century Persian poet Rumi, Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson; "Vintners of Napa Valley" showcases the puppet likenesses of Robert Mondavi, Bill Harlan, Darioush Khaledi, Heidi Peterson Barrett and Garen Staglin. The finger puppet sets are made by I Golfini della Nonna ("The Little Sweater from Grandma"), which specializes in hand-knit children's clothes and toys. "A little fun is what we are all seeking in life and in wine" says proprietor Darioush Khaledi.
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