Dirty Jobs visits a winery, a dead whale under a Tuscan vineyard, yet more overpriced Champagne-related stuff you don't need and a wine perfect for Britney
Posted: March 7, 2007
• If you were watching Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel last night, you saw host Mike Rowe take on several dirty jobs in and around the Starmont winery in Napa, alongside vineyard manager Remi Cohen and winemaker Sean Foster. Rowe picked and sorted Syrah grapes, pumped juice, scooped stems in a dumpster, dug 8 tons of grape skins out of a tank and cleaned it, pumped fermenting wine into barrels and finished off the day with a tasting trial in the lab. "Certainly he lightens the energy in the middle of the hectic harvest," said Cohen. "But he actually really does the work. He's a hard worker, so I'd hire him." As much as we look up to Rowe, as you could probably tell from our own videos on the dirtier side of winemaking, we don't really envy him at all. When we get done with a wine video, we drink wine. But his next segment after visiting Starmont took him to a Kansas cattle ranch where, among other things, he had to clean out a grain silo. And most of his tasks at farms usually involve cleaning up farm waste. So we'll stick with wine, thank you very much. But cheers to Dirty Jobs for finally doing winery dirty work as only they can.
|Tuscany was a prehistoric water park where Shamu performed.|| |
• Folks at American-owned Castello Banfi
in Tuscany's Montalcino region are reassessing the value of their terroir
. In the last week of February, the fossilized remains of a whale from the Pliocene era were discovered on their property. Local paleontologist Simone Casati
and his team have so far, with the help of equipment supplied by the estate, unearthed the 5 million-year-old vertebrae and ribs of the sea monster (the coast is about 20 miles to the west of the estate these days), and are hopeful of uncovering more--maybe the entire beast. This is the oldest and largest of such discoveries in the southern part of Tuscany, which was once the marine playground for hungry whales and sharks. In fact, the revelation was prompted by the earlier discovery of a set of shark teeth nearby, probably shed by the predator's feeding on the whale carcass shortly after its death. "We often find pieces and even whole shells of clams and mollusks, but this is far more significant," said Castello Banfi proprietor Cristina Mariani
, who hopes to house the skeleton in a "museum" setting on the estate. Unfiltered suggests you start looking for a bottle of Castello Banfi, just to keep handy should you ever eat a whale steak. It'll probably be a great pairing.
|Don't wear shorts on the loveseat in the summer. Looks sticky.|| |
• The single-stemmed Tulip chair was Eero Saarinen's great contribution to 1950s home design. Aside from looking very "space age," the chair opened up vast amounts of legroom underneath the kitchen table. Enter Veuve Clicquot's foray into leg-reducing chairs, the Veuve Clicquot Loveseat: two very pink opposite-facing chairs fused together by a Champagne bucket on a single metal post. Aside from the nod to Saarinen's Tulip, we have no idea what designer Karim Rashid was going for with this entrée into Champagne-themed furniture. We can, however, speculate: Pepto-Bismol colored Tilt-a-Whirl? Judy Jetson's school cafeteria? You, too, can speculate by visiting the Conran Shop, where the Loveseat sells for $10,000. As they say, love ain't cheap. Ten grand is the equivalent of nearly 167 bottles of Veuve Clicquot
Brut Rosé Champagne at its 2006 release price of $60. We know which we'd rather spend our money on.
• If you love the wines of Burgundy, you're probably also a fan of camembert, the cheese with the signature stink. But it looks like camembert may soon lose its character, we're sorry to say. According to reports in the French media, Claude Granjon, the deputy director of a cheese-making cooperative in d'Isigny-Sainte-Mère, Normandy, said the co-op intends to ditch age-old cheesemaking traditions and will begin to use modern microfilters to remove bacteria from the cheese. The decision, he said, comes on the heels of several recent food scares and a growing public perception that the microbes in camembert, which also give it that signature stinky-feet "aroma," may be harmful to your health. Along with losing the smell, Granjon said the decision will likely lead to the Appellations d'Origine Controlée revoking use of the name d'Isigny-Sainte-Mère on the cheese labels.
|Oops is also the word you utter when you have one glass too many.|| |
• Oops, he did it again. There are those people who see a mistake as something shameful, to be aborted, covered up and forgotten. And then there's Norman Schwartz
, who turned a 150-year mistake into a marketing opportunity. Schwartz, one of the key players behind Yellow Tail
's enormous popularity in the United States, has begun to introduce a series of Chilean Carmenère and Carmenère-based blends under the label (oops). The name is a nod to the fact that, from 1850 to the mid 1990s, Chilean vintners mistook Carmenère grapes for Merlot
, and labeled their wines as such. Accentuating the positive, Schwartz's partner Terry Wheatley
asserted, "Carmenère should be to Chile what Shiraz is to Australia--a signature grape that gets the right notoriety for the right reasons." With that in mind, Unfiltered wonders what sort of silk purse the (oops) team could have spun from Britney Spears'
recent head-shaving antics.