• Wine really is the perfect escape! At least, that's what Unfiltered thought when we heard that Prison Break star Rockmond Dunbar served Clos du Val at his recent birthday party. Last time we saw "C-Note," Dunbar's character on the hit TV show, he and his merry gang of inmates were attempting to break out of prison. Dunbar's real life is much more glamorous, with birthday bashes at Chicago's Victor Hotel, magazine cover shoots and a fashion model wife. (Rockmond and Ivy Dunbar were recently deemed one of the 10 hottest couples by Ebony magazine). Prison Break won Best New Drama Series at the 2006 People's Choice Awards, and it was there that the actor was introduced to Clos du Val, the event's wine sponsor. For the Dunbars' 250 friends and fellow cast members, Clos du Val served its 2003 Chardonnay and 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. Must be better than the stuff they make in prison toilets.
• From Pinot Noir to film noir: In another example for the annals of creative wine marketing, Roessler Cellars wines are now starring online in an interactive short film, The Naked Wine, which allows viewers to choose from three endings (based on three wines and their corresponding characters: Sonoma, Cliff and Anderson), solve a mystery and win prizes. The Sonoma County Pinot Noir producer is trying to get the attention of New Yorkers, as they can now order directly from California wineries, thanks to the shipping law passed last year. Digital video and e-mail marketing must be a cheaper way to do that than buying ad space in the city. If you figure out the passcode needed in the film, you can win a personal wine tasting in the Big Apple hosted by the winemaker. And if you actually order wine, you get a bonus video to find out what really happens in the end. Our guess: The FedEx guy shows up at your door with a case of Roessler, and a charge of at least $50 shows up on your credit card statement.
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• If you live in Eureka, Ill., you might want to stop by Eureka College on Feb. 6. For one night only, you'll be able to obtain wine in this otherwise dry town. Just outside Peoria, Eureka has been dry for more than 150 years, and though voters repealed the ban on liquor sales last spring, the city has yet to issue a single license. Eureka College also had an alcohol ban until 2001, when it started allowing wedding parties renting space there to bring in wine and beer with less than 12 percent alcohol. But Eureka is Ronald Reagan's alma mater, and when officials invited his eldest son, talk-radio host Michael, to speak at a fundraiser marking the college's 151st anniversary, they asked the city for a one-day license to serve wine. Furrow Vineyard & Winery, central Illinois' first winery, is donating wines for a dinner, while a store in Peoria is donating one case each of Ironstone Petite Sirah 2002 and Louis Latour Grand Ardèche 2001 for a reception. But drinking in Eureka will cost you: $225 a ticket for the reception, dinner and an autographed copy of one of Michael's books. Go drink a glass for the Gipper.
• Bordeaux and Canadian wines faced off last week—and New Zealand won! The Ontario Wine Society, dedicated to learning about and enjoying Canada's best, held a blind tasting on Jan. 16 between four red Bordeaux and five Canadian Bordeaux-style blends. Much like the legendary 1976 Paris tasting in which California wines beat top wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy, the idea was to see which country's wines performed better and whether the group could distinguish between them. Society director Sadie Darby tossed in a Kiwi wine—Newton's Forrest Vineyard Cornerstone 2002—as a ringer. While Canuck wines took spots two through six, after the 140 tasters sniffed and tasted, they ranked Newton first.
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