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Unfiltered: Puffy Parties with Georges Duboeuf (For a Good Cause)

Plus, Kansas, Maine and Tennessee wine direct-shipping bills go into effect, President Obama gifts Italy's leader with American wines, the U.S. TTB approves the country's largest AVA, and high-fashion wines lead to high crimes in London

Posted: July 9, 2009

• He's known by many names—Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and just plain Diddy or Puffy—but when Sean Combs threw his Independence Day White Party in Los Angeles this past weekend, you could also call him a savvy shopper when it comes to good wine values. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf was the official wine sponsor of the party, and guests were sipping Georges Duboeuf 2008 Mâcon-Villages and 2007 Pouilly-Fuissé. The Grammy-winning rapper, record producer, actor and clothing designer is known for his white parties, which are typically held in New York's Hamptons, but this year took place at a private mansion in Beverly Hills. Combs and Ashton Kutcher combined celebrity forces to raise money for the charity Malaria No More, and guests included Demi Moore, Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Lil' Kim and Forest Whitaker. The dress code is, obviously, all white. Guests enter via a white carpet and the party is outfitted with white flowers, white tents and white food. And of course, white wine is the beverage of choice. Unfiltered would just like to take this opportunity to point out to Diddy that we look great in white linen, sipping white wine while nibbling on risotto with shaved white truffles … we'll be anxiously watching our mailbox for next year's invite.

• What sort of gift do you give to your host when they happen to be Italian President Giorgio Napolitano? How about a nice selection of wine? That's what U.S. President Barack Obama opted for when he attended the G8 summit in Umbria, Italy, this week. He gave Napolitano a selection of American wines made by Italian-American families. While Unfiltered has yet to obtain a full list of the wines, we have confirmed that one was a rather off-the-beaten-path selection—how American!—a North Carolina Vermentino from Raffaldini Vineyards, located in Wilkes County. The gift box wasn't bad either—the wines were packaged in a custom wooden case made from old Oval Office floorboards.

• Residents of Florida, Kansas, Maine and Tennessee had more to celebrate than our nation's birthday this past Independence Day weekend. On July 1, new and improved wine direct shipping bills went into effect in Kansas, Maine and Tennessee. On April 20, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed SB212 into law, allowing Kansas residents to have as many as 12 cases of wine shipped to their homes from any winery which has paid the $50 registration fee for a special-order shipping license. On June 12, Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed HB696, also allowing residents to receive up to 12 cases of wine from any winery that has paid Maine's $200 licensing fee. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed SB166 on June 5, which permits residents to receive up to three cases of wine from wineries who have paid the $300 application fee and make their $150 annual payments. Florida's direct shipping has been largely unlimited for the past four years (ever since the Supreme Court's Granholm v. Heald decision overturning out-of-state wine-shipping bans as unconstitutional) due to the state legislature's inability to pass a direct-shipping bill. Two wine-shipping bills were debated by the Florida legislature this spring and summer, one of which would have placed a production limit on wineries eligible for a Florida shipping license, but both bills failed, leaving the state once again open to direct shipments of wine. There are now 37 states in which direct shipping of wine to residents is legal.

• Even the ancient Greeks had wine appellations—designated plots of lands where the vines produce wine that tastes different from wine made from another chunk of land. The French, big believers in terroir, have the strictest version and have divvied their vineyards up into hundreds, down to the 2-acre La Romanée (not to be confused with the 4-acre Romanée-Conti, just downslope, which has more clay, of course). American appellations, or American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), are a bit different, overseen by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), but the basic concept is the same. According to TTB rules, "We designate viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase." But Unfiltered is a bit confused on what exactly is being described by the TTB's newest AVA. The Upper Mississippi River Valley, detailed in a June announcement, covers 29,914 square miles stretching across parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. That's 19.1 million acres, trumping America's now second-largest AVA, the 16.6 million acre Ohio River Valley. Unfiltered just hopes we aren't challenged to distinguish the two in a blind tasting any time soon.

• Don't you hate it when the party's guest of honor is running late? Well, a no-show is infinitely worse as guests at London's Mo*Vida nightclub discovered this past Tuesday night. According to the London Paper, the launch party of Christian Audigier's newly branded Champagne line fell flat when thieves stole the entire lot, worth $300,000 at retail, before it could make its grand entrance. According to the report, the club's security cameras caught footage of the lawbreakers making a move on the storage truck while it waited to be unloaded. However, the party goes on, as they say, and we're told that the guests, including a smattering of local British celebrities, had to make do with the club's house Champagne, Dom Pérignon. That's one way to ensure no one is left crying over stolen bubbly.

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