• On Friday June 6, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, last seen vetoing a bill that would've made Zinfandel the state's official "historic wine," signed into law SB 607, which will keep hundreds of his state's garagistes from becoming outlaws. The bill legalizes California's longstanding tradition of home winemaking competitions, which, until last month, nobody seemed to know were illegal. A little-known Prohibition-era law, recently discovered by a home winemaker seeking a permit for an upcoming competition, afforded Californians the right to make 200 gallons of wine at home for personal consumption, but prohibited them from sharing it with neighbors or moving it from the premises where it had been made. Pushed through with an "urgency" clause, the bill, sponsored by Santa Rosa Democrat Patricia Wiggins, goes into effect immediately, just in time to head off a massive bust at this year's California Exposition and State Fair in Sacramento.
• Unfiltered recently came across a gem of a quote from MTV talking head Ricki Rachtman, regarding progressive rock band Queensryche, whom he called "the thinking man's rock group," adding, "Even people who don't like to think that much—like me—like this band." With any luck, Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate's new wine project will have the same ability to appeal to thinkers and non-thinkers alike. Following in the increasingly well-trod footsteps of fellow rockers like The Rolling Stones and Mick Fleetwood, he's now making his own wine. Tate has teamed up with Washington's Three Rivers winery to produce 190 cases of a Cabernet Sauvingon and Merlot-based blend, to be released next year. In good progressive rocker fashion, he's dubbed the wine Insania, a Latin word meaning "madness" or "irrationality," a condition that can inflict both thinkers and non-thinkers from time to time.
• Another new mayor for a European capital, another wine hangover. Just as the mayor of Paris discovered nearly $600,000 worth of fine wine left over from the days of Jacques Chirac, the new mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also recently uncovered a similar hidden treasure. During a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, Johnson said that, as he was exploring his new offices at the Greater London Authority, he happened across a fridge stocked with an "astonishing collection of wine: very fine bottles left behind by [former] Mayor [Ken] Livingstone," as he told the paper. "There are rows and rows of glistening Châteauneuf-du-Pape," as well as Sancerre and Rioja. Livingstone furiously denies the account amid rumors that the wine represents rampant overspending during his term in office.
The real challenge is getting the bubbly through all that breathing apparatus.
• Care for some Champagne aged in the original "drink"? Champagne house Louis Roederer is aging a few pallets of its Brut Premier bottles 45 feet under the sea, off the shores of Saint-Malo, in northwest France. Apparently, the bottom of the sea makes for a perfect cellar, as the temperature is a constant 50° F and the movement of the sea will gently rock the bottles, which will be fished out and assessed in May 2009. Some will be sold at auction, with proceeds going to French charities, while others will be tasted and compared to terra firma bottlings. Roederer must be somewhat concerned that thirsty scuba divers might get some bright ideas, as they've kept the exact location of the wines a highly guarded secret.
Fur stole, fancy shirt and hairdo sold separately.
• Don't feel guilty for indulging in that third glass of wine—revel in your gluttonous (or slothful, envious or wrathful) nature by drinking from British artist Kacper Hamilton's new seven deadly sins-inspired glassware.Each of the made-to-order glasses embody a "sin": lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride and envy. The artist says that the glasses are "about celebrating passion and encouraging the user to be sinful in a theatrical fashion." Although, Unfiltered wonders, perhaps, if the highly-perforated glass that abstractly symbolizes "envy," seen at right, might be better suited to representing "masochism"?
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