• Back in January, Unfiltered predicted that comely actress Scarlett Johannson's figure would inspire the design of some new stemware, and while we have yet to see that happen (we're looking at you, Maximilian Riedel), Johansson has just been named the "Hollywood face" of Champagne producer Moët & Chandon. The company made the announcement at a recent London party whose theme was "Tribute to Cinema," at which Johannson expressed her excitement at the chance to "make history with the brand, as the first celebrity face of Champagne." We know she's not yet 25 years old, but we have to wonder, is she too young to have heard of the positively ancient celebrity model Claudia Schiffer, whose face (and, um, other body parts) have been enlisted to help sell Dom Pérignon? And although cava is not Champagne, Johansson may also wish to Google such obscure Hollywood names as Martin Scorsese, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Basinger, Meg Ryan or Paul Newman, all of whom have lent their famous mugs to various Freixenet campaigns.
|Restaurateurs Drew Nieporent and Danny Meyer are all smiles with their new Mets unis.|
• With baseball's opening day less than a week away, the New York Mets held a press conference Tuesday to introduce some big off-season signings—the food squad. Restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Drew Nieporent and chef Dave Pasternak came to the Mets' new home, Citi Field, and were rewarded with team jerseys. The Mets made a big off-season push to acquire culinary talent, eventually shaming their cross-town rivals into scrambling to sign their own culinary talent (originally, the Yankees' top dining venue was the NYY steak house run by Hard Rock Café). "Considering New York's place as a culinary capital of the world," said Mets executive vice president, Jeff Wilpon, "It only made sense to bring some of the city's best food to Queens." Nieporent, whose Myriad Restaurant Group is opening an upscale restaurant in the premium Acela Club, complete with sit down service and a wine list developed by Zachys, said, "The real reason I'm here is my brother and I are diehard Mets fans. This is destiny." Pasternak, the chef at Esca, one of New York's top Italian seafood restaurants, is overseeing Catch of the Day, a seafood stand in the centerfield concourse that will offer corn chowder, lobster rolls and blackened shrimp po-boys. Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group will be right next to him, with a Shake Shack stand, Blue Smoke barbecue stand, a taqueria and a Belgian frites stand. That concourse will undoubtedly have long lines, but Wilpon may also be coming through to fetch food for some of his employees. "Players have asked if they can get a Shack Burger," he said. "We'll make it happen." So Mets fans, if Jose Reyes gains 30 pounds and struggles to steal second, you know who to blame—Meyer, the self-proclaimed "lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan."
|Chef Masaharu Morimoto takes the field at Yankee Stadium.|
• Never one to back down from a challenge ("We'll see your Johan Santana and raise you C.C. Sabathia"), the New York Yankees organization has enlisted their own celebrity chef with plenty of experience in the heat of battle, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto will make a special "guest chef" appearance at the dining room in the stadium's exclusive Delta 360 Club this season. Other top chefs, including the Spotted Pig's April Bloomfield, are also already on board. The duration of each chef's tenure will vary—while some will merely have a one-night stand, others are anticipated to be regulars. Unfiltered is impressed. The Yankees and the Mets play each other six times this season. We'd say all of New York's baseball fans will have something to cheer about, no matter who wins.
• Call it the War of the Rosés, Part Trois. First the European Union proposed allowing the continent's winemakers to make rosé by blending red and white wine. That touched off a furor, particularly in southern France, where for centuries they've made rosé by crushing red grapes, letting the juice extract a bit of color and flavor from the skins, and then draining the juice off before fermentation. So the E.U. proposed a compromise that pleased no one: Rosés must be labeled either "traditional rosé," meaning the old maceration method was used, or "blended rosé." French rosé vintners were still pink-faced with rage. Now the French government has gotten involved. While President Nicolas Sarkozy is in London at the G-20 economic summit, presenting himself as a leader of the E.U., his agriculture minister has told the E.U. it can go macerate itself. Minister Michel Barnier has announced that if the E.U. proceeds with the rosé change, France will promptly outlaw rosés made by blending. Isn't rosé supposed to be a wine for relaxing?
|Can a record sale of a Depression-era Champagne signal better times ahead?|
• What recession? Last week we told you about a bottle of Idaho Cabernet that sold for $10,000 at auction, and now someone's buying wine in Hong Kong like it's early 2008. At Acker Merrall & Condit's March 28 sale, when the gavel fell for lot No. 571—a single bottle of 1928 Krug Champagne from collector Rob Rosania's cellar—the final tally was $20,570. Though two bottles of Moët & Chandon Brut Rosé Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon 1959 (also previously owned by Rosania) brought in $84,700 in April of 2008, this Hong Kong sale bests any single-bottle sale record in the U.S. We can only hope that boom times are on the horizon again.
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