• "I Write the Songs," and now I make the wine. OK, so he doesn't write all the songs and he doesn't actually make the wines, but Barry Manilow, musician, performer, composer and producer, has turned wine merchant. Fans of the Brooklyn native can now go online and buy bottles of Manilow vino for between $20 and $25 each (about the price of a concert ticket … in 1973). The choices are a 2003 Napa Valley Chardonnay and Merlot (produced at Flora Springs), a Zinfandel from the Sierra Foothills (made at Macchia in Lodi), and a California Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 Central Coast Pinot Grigio (produced at White Crane in Livermore). Unfortunately, there isn't a "Mandy Brandy." The crooner isn't yet offering wineglasses to his "Fanilows," either, who will have to settle for drinking the wine out of the Barry Manilow "on the rocks" tumblers or the coffee mugs also offered on the singer's website. While a Barry Manilow brand of wine may seem odd, it's not completely unheard of for veterans of the music industry to begin slapping their names on wine labels. But it helps to know what's inside the bottle. Just last year, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tricked Sir Cliff Richard into criticizing his own wines. Know thy wines, Manilow.
• In the ongoing fight between the animal-rights lobby and foie gras producers, the rule of thumb seems to be "fight hyperbole with hyperbole." In light of chef Wolfgang Puck's recent decision to remove foie gras from all of his menus, Ariane Daguin, owner of specialty foods purveyor D'Artagnan, has issued a call to action. The widely distributed missive starts out by claiming, "The animal rights terrorists are claiming another victory in the battle for our dinner plate," and asks readers to "stand with us and declare that we will not allow the animal rights agenda to dictate our diet." Suggested points of action include thanking the managers of grocery stores that stock the delicacy and asking for foie gras if it doesn't appear on the menus of your favorite restaurants. In response, Paul Shapiro, the factory farming campaign manager for the Humane Society of the United States, says, "Foie gras is not a meat-eater versus vegetarian issue … last year, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that foie gras violates its existing laws against animal torture. Arnold Schwarzenegger has banned force-feeding in California … even the Pope and Pat Buchanan have spoken out against foie gras … if you can get the Pope, the Israeli Supreme Court and Arnold Schwarzenegger all to agree on something, you know there's got to be some merit to it."
|Maybe the next Ann Colgin press release will come from an "undisclosed location."|
• What do you get the wine-and-food gourmand that has ... everything? If you've got $60,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can check out Cliff Lede Vineyards' and Poetry Inn's "Ultimate Birthday Bash." It's a weekend for five couples that includes three private nights at Poetry Inn in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, and a birthday dinner cooked at the inn by chef Thomas Keller and his French Laundry staff, paired with Cliff Lede wines. The idea came to winery and inn proprietor Cliff Lede, who recently celebrated his own 50th birthday and wondered what his ultimate, luxury celebration would be. There aren't any takers for the package yet, but once you get over the sticker shock, the price is not that unreasonable if you think about it. Even getting a reservation at the French Laundry is a feat, and Poetry Inn is one of the swankiest--and most expensive--places to stay in Napa. And for 60 grand, who knows? Maybe chef Keller will throw in some birthday spankings.
|Don't I look thrilled to be the Côtes de Bourg mascot?|
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions