• Despite their six-figure paydays, lucrative endorsement contracts and all that time spent outdoors in warm, sunny places, tennis stars seem only to want to work in the hospitality industry. A few months ago, we reported on Jim Courier's fledgling wine-steward skills, and now comes word that a handful of tennis pros, in New York for the U.S. Open, pitched in last week at the Dacor Taste of Tennis benefit for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, at which restaurateurs and tennis players teamed up to serve signature dishes and wines. Chef Marcus Samuelsson, who grew up in Sweden watching his countrymen Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Mats Vilander dominate the courts, was ably assisted by Andy Roddick in preparing a berberé-crusted lamb dish with mango couscous, while Donatella Arpaia of Anthos and davidburke & donatella had Slovakian player Dominik Hrbaty on hand to help her distribute cheesecake lollipops. Did he seem like a skilled cook? "Not really, but he smiled a lot and he looked like Colin Firth," said Arpaia. Insert cheap, tennis-based joke about "scoring" and "love" here …
• Train your grape bunches to grow upside down, with the tip facing up, ferment the harvested grapes in an antique 400-liter glass pharmaceutical amphora, bottle immediately and bury the bottles for a year in the earth, protected from mold by a patent-pending bottle and closure. Then sell the finished product for around $2,700 a bottle. Sounds like a story Unfiltered should have reserved for the April 1 edition. But Vino Erectus is a reality, brainchild of Italian wine collector and insurance agent-turned-vintner Franco Ariano, who plans to make the 250-bottle first vintage of the Sangiovese blend in 2010 from his 2-acre vineyard, located in Saludeccio, near Rimini in the region of Emilia Romagna. According to Ariani, the benefits of training grapes in the "erectus" position is a freer-flowing vascular system, earlier ripening and less tightly packed, better-ventilated bunches. Ariani gets the thumbs up from the 13th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri; in his Divine Comedy, the poet speaks of a perfect world in which all fruit grows up toward the sky. Less poetic, when approached for comment, is Riccardo Cottarella, one of Italy's finest consulting enologists. "The problem is," he said, "our biggest efforts these days are aimed at slowing down the ripening of the grapes, to get a better overall balance." Ariani's motives? "I want to write just one page in the history of wine," he said. Unfiltered suggests that, for $2,700 a bottle, consumers might expect at least two.
|Dr. Melfi always looked at the world through rosé-colored glasses.|
|The "after" is always more appealing than the "before," just like in those hair-restoration ads.|