• In between removing all of the toilets from his parents' house and attending his beyond-raunchy Las Vegas bachelor party, professional skateboarder-turned-television star Bam Margera found some time for a semi-civilized wine tasting on the latest episode of his MTV reality show Bam's Unholy Union. The show documents preparations leading up to the wedding of Margera and fiancée Missy Rothstein, including a tasting of several wines at Pennsylvania's Chaddsford winery. Margera (a native of West Chester, Penn., just a few miles down the road from the winery), Rothstein and their friends "were actually very nice and polite when the cameras weren't rolling," said Lee Miller, co-owner (with her husband Eric) of Chaddsford. But when it was time for action, the group engaged in such charming behavior as contributing their own phlegm to the shared spit bucket, and then forcing a member of their group to ingest it. The happy couple ultimately chose bottles of Chaddsford's Proprietors Reserve Red to give as favors to their wedding guests, said Miller, who added that she was "excited," for the TV exposure but "horrified [by] the crudeness." Has she already forgotten about that naked photo of her husband that circulated on the Internet just months ago?
• Who says shopping for wine can be taxing? A Chinese businessman recently got around his excise tax by going on a wine shopping spree while at a duty free shop in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. According to a spokesman for the boutique, Aelia, the man's purchases included a bottle of cognac from 1806, a bottle of Armagnac from 1900 and a 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild, coming to a grand total of around $30,700. The man, who is known well by the Aelia staff, usually asks about older vintages before hopping his flight home, but the store doesn't always stock their shelves with such offerings for everyone. "Those products were specials, because they were rare and very old," said Serge Chiron, manager of Aelia's 25 shops. He added that the French taxes on those bottles, if purchased outside of duty free, would have been about $6,000. We know who we want to be sitting near next time we're traveling between France and China. With any luck, the man might give us a taste of his treasures. After all, who doesn't feel festive after avoiding a hefty tax bill?
• Glass, cup or cone? After two years of development, a dairy in Oneida County, N.Y., has developed the perfect dessert for those who like wine chilled—way chilled. In addition to the 40 or so other flavors they make, Mercer's Dairy is now offering three flavors of wine-flavored ice cream: Ala Port Wine, Peachy White Zinfandel and Red Raspberry Chardonnay. The dairy got the idea from sharing stall areas at local markets with the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. "We used to joke about mixing us together," said Mercer marketing director Roxaina Hurlburt, "and one day we just said, 'Let's do this'." Mercer's partnered with Washingtonville, N.Y.'s Brotherhood winery to make the ice cream, the flavors of which will change in the future to focus solely on New York-grown varieties. "You don't get much Zinfandel from New York state," said Hurlburt, "so we'll probably swap that one out soon and maybe try a nice Riesling." The ice cream, sold nationally at $45 for a 3-gallon tub, is aimed at restaurants and caterers. Mercer's would like to see the wine ice cream on supermarket shelves, eventually, but first they need to be sure that buyers will have their IDs checked. After all, the ice cream is around 5 percent alcohol by volume--that's packing a bit more power than standard brain freeze. We haven't tasted the ice cream yet, but with sugar and alcohol, what's not to like?
• Speaking of the sweet stuff, Château d'Yquem is soon to make an offer that will be irresistible to some collectors. To celebrate the spectacular 2005 vintage, the Sauternes producer will be offering 100 Nebuchadnezzars (a 15-liter bottle) of wine from that vintage. It is the first time d'Yquem has bottled in this format, a move the estate's communications director Valérie Lailheugue is certain will be a hit. "It is unique and spectacular," she said. "It is for great events with lots of friends to share it with." Lailheugue said she can't be sure how much a bottle will set you back, since the wines are being sold to a négociant in Bordeaux, who will then sell them to U.S. importers. You have time to save up, though, since the wines will hit the market in 2009. But estimates currently range around the $20,000 mark. You could look at that as a relative bargain since Nebuchadnezzar holds the equivalent of 20 bottles of wine, so that's $1,000 per bottle. But your kids probably won't see it that way when you tell them they're spending that semester at community college.
• Spicy Zinfandel seeks fleshy Pinot Noir for long walks on the beach? For wine lovers looking for love in all the wrong places, no need to scour MySpace for of-age enophiles. These days online dating includes wine-loving dating sites like wineloversmeet.com and wineloversmatch.com, and another Unfiltered let you know about in the past, grapedates.com. You don't need to be a wine expert to join, but the playing field has been narrowed to those who have an appreciation for wine. Of course, you should also have a stomach for cheesy wine metaphors on personal profiles ("Life has been like a bottle of wine to me"), wine-geeky user names ("Petrus75"), and the ability to decide if you could date someone who lists in their personal profile that their favorite wine is Silver Oak Cabernet. And when you do find the person that puts the sparkle in your bubbly, at least first-date choices are no-brainers--wine tasting anyone? Date at your own risk though: We created an account (for research!) and our only responses so far are thinly-veiled spam requests and lonely people on the other side of the world who say they have "something of great important that will like to discuse with you." No need to pull that special bottle out of the cellar just yet.
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