• For the third year in a row, the wine producers of Rioja were among the sponsors at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and once again, Unfiltered managed to snag an invitation to the tents in Manhattan's Bryant Park, despite having all the fashion sense of an old vineyard dog. As usual, models introduced a different Rioja to the fashionable hordes each day of the event, including Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2003 and Bodegas Palacio's Cosme Palacio Barrel-Fermented White 2006—only this year, instead of hiring the waitress-models ahead of time, the Vibrant Rioja campaign conducted an on-site modeling contest, the winners of which were allowed to pour wine for guests while wearing revealing sequined dresses. They must have misplaced Unfiltered's entry form under a case of Rioja, because we never got a call back …
Model Angela Lindvall with the special DKNY bottle.
• In other news from the intersection of fashion and wine, designer Donna Karan plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of DKNY with a custom-made bubbly, produced by Domaine Chandon. The wine, called Twenty Year Cuvée, was pressed into the hands of celebrity Fashion Week attendees Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci, but will be available to the unwashed masses, i.e., Unfiltered, at the winery beginning of 2009.
Aniston (and some shadowy friends) at the Stand Up to Cancer event.
• This week, sex appeal and glamour were not limited to the realm of fashion. The televised "Stand Up to Cancer" event on Sept. 5 raised more than $100 million for cancer research, but not without help from some notable celebrities—and some notable wines. This hour-long, commercial-free, televised event, shown simultaneously on the three major broadcast networks in the United States and in more than 170 countries, featured the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, Lance Armstrong and Mariah Carey. And at a Wolfgang Puck-catered reception afterward, 20 members of the Napa Valley Vintners were there to show their liquid support, including Freemark Abbey, Honig and Frank Family Vineyards. Unfiltered spoke with Tom Scott of Diageo Chateau and Estate, who was on hand to pour Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve 2004 and Sterling Chardonnay Napa Valley Reserve 2005. Scott said the event was "phenomenal," though, displaying a canny awareness of the awesome power of the celebrity attorney, he wouldn't say for sure whether any of the boldfaced names were seen sipping Napa's finest, so you'll just have to use your imagination.
• Speaking of bubbly, the worldwide credit crunch is obviously not affecting the Champagne habits of high-profile Brits, though it seems the more visibly famous a figure, the fewer pounds they have to shell out in order to make news.The biggest spender award goes to Mike Ashley, owner of the Newcastle United Premier League football team, who recently spent more than $220,000 on Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Cristal at the aptly-named Pink Elephant nightclub in New York, according to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. The paper also reports that actors Kevin Connolly and Jeremy Piven from HBO's series Entourage helped themselves to Ashley's bubbly, despite having no clue who he was.
The wine bottle labyrinth at Jamstreet.
• Apparently, South Africans don't like to part with their empty wine bottles. In fact, a labyrinth, built at Jamstreet, a country guesthouse and "art farm" outside Oudtshoorn, South Africa, was built using 6,252 empty wine bottles collected by owners Willem Rheeder and Danie du Plessis their friends and fellow business owners over a seven-month period. The labyrinth's style was inspired by the church labyrinth at San Vitale, in Ravenna, Italy, and its diameter measures approximately 50 feet. Fortunately for visitors and Jamstreet guests, the wine bottles make a low enough wall that those wandering into the labyrinth can always step over and out if they find themselves hopelessly lost.
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