• New York Yankees head coach Joe Girardi was the guest of honor at New York's Grand Central Oyster bar this past Monday night for the second-annual Remember When, Remember Now Alzheimer's benefit. He was joined by a slew of New York athletes and celebrities who all auctioned off various gifts and services at the sold-out fund-raiser for Alzheimer's research. Among the items up for bid at the event, which coincided with the restaurant's 96th anniversary, were magnums of Quintessa Rutherford 2005, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Fay 2004 and two double magnums of Estancia Meritage 2000. Also in attendance (and driving up the bids) were former New York Mets pitchers Al Leiter and David Cone, New York Giants receiver Steve Smith, as well as former Food Network celebrity chef Sara Moulton, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost. Girardi, whose Catch 25 Foundation sponsored the event and whose father, Jerry, is living with Alzheimer's, made a great catch of his own when ESPN radio host Michael Kay stepped up to the podium and fumbled the microphone. Girardi, formerly an All-Star catcher, made a near-diving snag of the mic before it hit the floor. Kay made up for his bobble by making a personal sacrifice of his own, however: While a day spent in the studio with Kay was being bid on, the notoriously picky eater said that if the bidding reached $2,000, he would eat ketchup (Kay claims to have never eaten a condiment in his life). Apparently expanding the ESPN personality's palate was a top priority for the crowd, because his lot sold for more than $3,000 (which included a promise from Kay that he would also try a banana). Unfiltered salutes Kay for willing to do some "adventurous" eating for a great cause.
• Some equally charitable sacrifices are being made in Burgundy as well. Eight of the appellation's top houses and domaines will be donating their names and their winemaking prowess to a new wine label for charity, Les Climats du Coeur. As reported by Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson earlier this week, Louis Jadot, Domaine Leflaive, Maison Louis Latour, Domaine Roulot, Maison Joseph Drouhin, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Maison Joseph Faiveley and Domaine Dujac will all be teaming up to create four unique wines, which will be sold online at about $1,600 per four-magnum case. (Purchase registration begins at 8 a.m. EST on June 26 at climats-du-coeur.com and only one case per customer will be offered.) The four 2009 premiers crus, which will be available in the fall of 2011, will be a Gevrey-Chambertin (Dujac and Faively), a Vosne-Romanée (DRC and Drouhin), a Meursault (Roulot and Louis Latour) and a Puligny-Montrachet (Leflaive and Jadot). All proceeds from the sale of the wines will be donated to Côte d'Or charities, including Restos du Coeur, which provides food and other services to Burgundy's homeless.
• The last time Unfiltered checked in with winemaker-filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, he was promoting a youth-oriented wine brand using hand-held video of a Spanish bullfight. Now, it seems that the Godfather director is promoting (and financing) his latest film, a family drama called Tetro, using his Claret Diamond wine. In a full-page ad for the film that ran in the Los Angeles Times this past week, the bottom right corner of the page appears to be turned up to reveal an ad for the wine. Reached on the telephone from his Napa Valley home, Coppola told the Times, "In a way, everyone who buys a bottle of the wine is a participating producer of my movie." He went on to explain that without his successful wine business, he wouldn't have the freedom to make an "art film" like Tetro, which was shot in black and white, and stars the mercurial actor Vincent Gallo (of no relation to the wines that share his surname).
Arizona Vineyards owner Tino Ocheltree surveys what remains of his destroyed winery.
• One of Arizona's pioneering wineries, Arizona Vineyards, burned to the ground earlier this month. Arson is suspected. Established in 1984, the winery was located near Nogales, in the southeastern part of the state. Founded in 1984, Arizona Vineyards is one of the oldest members of Arizona's fledgling wine industry, which today boasts more than 30 winemaking operations. Inside the winery were giant wooden wine casks stacked to the ceiling, wine presses from Portugal, quirky antiques, sculptures and paintings, all of which were lost in the blaze. Owner Tino Ocheltree, whose winery was uninsured, considered Arizona Vineyards an old-fashioned rural winery museum. Ocheltree estimated his loss at $2 million, but says he plans to rebuild. Witnesses reported seeing a 43-year-old relative of a former employee of the winery, now in police custody, leaving the scene of the crime carrying a gasoline can. How subtle.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions