Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson first made a splash with "bottles full of bub'" in 2003's No. 1 single "In da Club," and 15 years on, he's only getting more serious about the business of bubbly. Jackson recently announced a partnership with Champagne Castelnau to launch his very own label, Le Chemin du Roi—"the king’s path"—and appeared on Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show this week to share sips of his stuff. Things got off with a bang when the rapper let an errant cork fly in the studio. "You just killed our lighting director!" exclaimed the host.
If you follow the rapper(/actor/entrepreneur) on social media, you know that he's quite proud of his newest venture, which a Castelnau rep tells us is a "tête de cuvée" for the Champagne house. The rosé wine, a traditional Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier/Pinot Noir base tinted with 12 percent red Pinot, is enthroned in a clear bottle tricked out with a 14-karat rose gold–plated king chess piece affixed to the front.
“I only want to present the best," Jackson said in a statement shared with Unfiltered. "Partnering with Castelnau to create Le Chemin du Roi, which is a refined and special cuvée, allows me to offer this rare Champagne to the masses."
Unfiltered readers will recall this is not Mr. Cent's first flirtation with the beverage biz: He previously held a minority stake in Effen vodka. And Le Chemin du Roi, of course, joins Jay Z's Armand de Brignac "Ace of Spades" Champagne in the mogul-backed, game-night–themed sparkling wine space. But don't expect to find this in a candy (er, Champagne) shop just yet; we're told to expect the official launch of the rosé and a traditional brut bubbly by the end of this year.
There's a sad truth behind most wine archaeology: It means that someone, at some point over the eons, did not get to drink their wine. That's true whether they're a rich 19th-century American merchant whose wine cellar burned to ruins with prime stocks of Château Latour inside, a Judahite soldier attempting to send a plea for wine via a pottery inscription or—in the most recent case—a whole bunch of thirsty citizens throughout the Roman Empire awaiting a ship full of wine heading for port.
A new discovery off coast of Port-Vendres, a town in France near the Spanish border, confirms those ancient imbibers were not to receive their wine, at least not from the ship that came to rest on the Mediterranean floor at a site called Cap Gros sometime between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50. Oscar Encuentra and Franck Brechon, lead researchers on the site from the Association for Underwater Research in Roussillon (ARESMAR) at the Université de Perpignan, described the wine, the ship and their fateful final voyage, to Unfiltered.
The ARESMAR team wrapped up its two-year site study of the Cap Gros wreck this month; fragments of a wooden hull found in early August clarify the picture of the ship, a small-ish cargo vessel about 50 feet long. More to our interests, the team also plucked fragments of about 20 clay wine amphoras, one of them nearly intact, from the wreck, all designed in a style archaeologists call "Pascual 1." That's a clue to the wine's region of origin: just north of a colonial outpost called Barcino—a little town that grew up to become the city of Barcelona. Encuentra and Brechon theorize that the ship might have been headed ashore for a pit stop, but its final destination would have been just a bit farther up the coast, likely the bustling port of Narbo-Martius, today's Narbonne.
The "shipwreck is important because this type of amphora is well known, and with this type of deposit, we can study commercial channels for Spanish wine in the 1st century from vinyards to consumers in north of the Roman Empire," said Brechon via email. Meaning that while some of that Spanish wine would have been enjoyed by Roman Gauls, other amphoras would have flowed on up into Germany and even as far north as present-day Great Britain, Brechon said. The Cap Gros ship may have disappointed the gullets of yesteryear, but it should provide sustenance for aspiring aqua-eno-archaeologists of the future: An archaeology museum will open around 2022 in Port-Vendres to display the treasures of Cap Gros and other shipwrecks found in the area.
New York Jets Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Joe Namath Super Bowl Win with Joe Wagner Super Bowl Wine
It’s been almost 50 years since Joe Namath and the New York Jets won Super Bowl III in 1969, and this season, the NFL team is celebrating the big anniversary of its first and most recent championship with a new Jets Uncorked Championship Reserve cuvée, unveiled this week at a MetLife Stadium presentation of 2018 season Jets swag.
The team called up Copper Cane winemaker Joe Wagner, the California Pinot Noir MVP who formerly quarterbacked Meiomi to victory in the Constellation Stakes, to create the Sonoma/Napa blend of primarily Zinfandel, with Merlot, Syrah and Petit Sirah contributing. “The Jets sought a best-in-class partner to create this special commemorative wine for our fans,” Jets vice president of corporate partnerships and new business Jeff Fernandez told Unfiltered. The limited-edition bottles will begin selling on August 23 (today) for $25, just in time for fans to snap some up before the team's season opener against their rival in the Cold Climate Riesling States Division, the Detroit Lions.
Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.