• In England, Prince Charles is famed both for combating climate change and for his love of British agricultural products, and now he's found a way to combine the two: According to the Prince's 2007-08 Annual Review, a disclosure of the Royals' financial activity for one fiscal year, the Prince has apparently begun filling his personal sports car with surplus wine sourced from England. Charles' communications secretary Paddy Harverson confirmed the report, adding that the Prince's 38-year-old Aston Martin, a 21st birthday present from the Queen of England, is now running on wine-based bioethanol, whereas his Jaguar, Audi and Range Rover cars and the Royal Train run on biodiesel, sourced from used cooking oil. "As the oil is left over from its first use, it does not result in additional land in the U.K. or elsewhere being cultivated for biofuel production," according to the report. Unfiltered applauds the Prince's efforts, and hopes that more people—even if they don't drive cars that cost six figures, or preside over a private railroad—will follow his lead.
The last time we saw a glass that big was in bathtub form, in a Vegas hotel room.
• Weighing in at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, and with a diameter of one and a half feet, the new world record holder for the "largest Champagne glass" is no boxer, but it will get several people more than a little punch drunk. The huge glass was unveiled this week at a wine festival in Spoleto, Italy, and was filled with 11 magnum bottles (16.5 liters) of Piedmont-produced sparkler Asti Spumante DOCG. (Not exactly Champagne, but who are we to quibble?) The event was documented by the U.S.-based World Records Academy and confirmed by Guinness World Records. "We use anti-fraud specialists to check every single new record," said World Records Academy spokesman Tom Howard, "[and] this level of accuracy is unique in this field; only banks use such high level of expertise." Of course, that accuracy diminishes greatly once the glass is emptied.
Don't worry, buddy, we'll stick to wine made from grapes.
• Tiger bone wine is one of the many elixirs used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, but it's not exactly an innocent cup of ginseng tea. The illegal beverage, made by soaking tiger carcasses in rice wine, is being sold openly at two safari parks in China, according to the BBC and National Geographic. The tonic has been used to treat arthritis and rheumatism for centuries, but the "wine" may be taking its toll on the endangered tiger population. The sale of endangered species' parts has been outlawed in China since 1989. Today, there are fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild due to the illegal animal trade and use of their parts for traditional medicines. After 3,000-plus years of use, it's hard to say if these practices will ever cease, though we can say with certainty that tiger bone wine, whose recommended drinking window is said to be "never," won't be enjoying a spot in Unfiltered's cellar anytime soon.
That bright yellow patch could be the perfect place for a vineyard.
• In the not-so-distant future, astronauts (or Martians) may be able to enjoy a meal from their local terroir. Researchers from NASA recently confirmed that soil samples taken from Mars' surface turned out not to be so alien after all. In fact, as Tufts University professor Samuel Kounaves said, "We have [found] elements [in the soil] that you might find in your backyard … If you had it here, you could grow something on it. " While Kounaves adds that the findings are preliminary, he suggests that asparagus, green beans and turnips might do well in Mars' extremely alkaline soils. Unfiltered looks forward to the day when space travellers may be able to supplement their rations of Emeril Lagasse's and Alain Ducasse's space food with locally-sourced succotash and perhaps even a glass of Martian Chardonnay, a varietal that's partial to alkaline soil.
• Attendees at the Lymphoma Friends for the Cure Summer Solstice benefit party got the chance to mingle, Perrier Jouët-filled Champagne glasses in hand, on the runway in fashion designer Charles Nolan's airy New York studio. Nolan opened his Chelsea loft for the June 25 Wine Spectator-sponsored event to "invite good karma" into the space. He said that he sees a connection between fashion, wine and being healthy. "I have a glass of wine every day for lunch," he reported. "Then I go on to fight the good fight." The event raised $57,585 for the charity, which supports cancer research.
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