It's Bordeaux vs. Champagne in Macron-Le Pen French Presidential Showdown

Also in Unfiltered, raise a glass on new NYC ferries, Wolfgang Puck gets a Hollywood star, and crayfish party for science
It's Bordeaux vs. Champagne in Macron-Le Pen French Presidential Showdown
Emmanuel Macron was #SorryNotSorry for fêting it up after his first-round victory. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 27, 2017

Last month, Unfiltered learned that French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is something of a wine aficionado and blind-tasting ace. But his bon-vivant joie de vivre recently stirred up un scandale mineur among the would-be prez' fellow Frenchmen. On the night of April 23, after Macron emerged victorious in the first round of the presidential election to stand in next month's runoff, he threw a celebratory dinner at Parisian brasserie La Rotonde with friends, campaign aides and individuals that Unfiltered will take the word of French news agencies in identifying as "celebrities," like actor Pierre Arditi, singer Line Renaud and erstwhile Eurovision commentator Stéphane Bern.

According to some press who peeped in, Macron dined on ham, asparagus and red wine, which doesn't sound too extravagant (or nourishing; a growing boy should eat!) in Unfiltered's opinion, but some observers tut-tutted the festivities. A lieutenant of Macron's remaining rival, fellow runoff qualifier Marine Le Pen, huffed to London's Telegraph, "Mr. Macron went into another Parisian restaurant with his showbiz friends. [It was] sparkle and sequins." Unsurprisingly, La Rotonde would not disclose to Unfiltered exactly which wine Macron enjoyed that night, but he is an admitted Bordeaux partisan.

Yet glasses clinked at Le Pen's celebratory soirée that same evening as well, though she opted for bubbles; in fact, the nationalist self-proclaimed "candidate of the people" has said her favorite wine is Champagne. Meanwhile, the socialist in the race, Benoît Hamon, avoided the obvious punchline by finishing in a rather un-Champagne-worthy fifth place.

New York City Ferries Turn Waterways into Wine Bars

If you're a New Yorker, commuting is probably not your favorite part of the day, not least due to lack of wine: Subway cars are as dry as their riders' flesh wet in the coming summer heat. But now the city is attempting to rectify at least the non-alcoholic element of the grind next month with the rollout of the new NYC Ferry service. For those who choose to commute by sea, wine will flow like the mighty Hudson.

"There are many ways to get to work in New York, but none like NYC Ferry," Mayor Bill de Blasio told Unfiltered in an email. "This is the only ride where you can end your day with a glass of wine on the deck, looking out over New York Harbor. Salute!" Earlier this month, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen christened the first ferry, Lunch Box, and the boats Friendship Express and McShiny are gearing up for the launch as well. (If it sounds like the city let second-graders name its ferries, that's exactly how it went down.)

Michael Appleton | Mayoral Photo Office
This Lunch Box packs wine.

What's more, the ferry service is partnering with Gotham Project, Charles Bieler's keg wine enterprise. "We thought it was a natural fit," cofounder Bruce Schneider told Unfiltered. "We pioneered wine on tap in New York City, and they are pioneering a completely new experience and way to commute." The inaugural offerings include Gotham's The Finger Riesling from the Finger Lakes, made with all Seneca Lake fruit, and the Empire Builder rosé from the North Fork, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The NYC Ferry will host its happy hour begin operating a route from Manhattan to Brooklyn and the Rockaways beaches on May 1, and will gradually open more itineraries throughout the summer and into next year, connecting various parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Aymann Ismail
The ferries are tricked out with snack and wine stands from concessions vendor New Stand and wine kegger Gotham Project.

Chef Celebrity Wolfgang Puck Granted Real Celebrity Status with Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Wolfgang Puck may not be a thespian (by training, anyway), but the Austrian chef was Hollywood before most of today's Tinseltown A-list was even born. Puck opened Spago on the Sunset Strip in 1982, though the Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning flagship location later relocated to Beverly Hills. On Wednesday, Puck officially became a star, getting his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his TV successes Wolfgang Puck on the Food Network, and appearances on Good Morning America and elsewhere. Larry King and director Brett Ratner spoke at the unveiling of Puck's star, which puts the chef in a constellation with the likes of Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Bobby Flay.

That Fish Cray: New Study Shows Crustaceans Get a Faster Buzz Partying than Drinking Alone

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel tipsier drinking in social settings than by your lonesome self? Well there could possibly be a neurological reason for that, and to find out why, scientists are looking to the party-hardiest of species: the crayfish. A recent study conducted by Jens Herberholz and students Matthew Swierzbinski and Andrew Lazarchik of the University of Maryland, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that crays manifested signs of intoxication at a much faster rate after social interaction with their fellow crustaceans. 

How does a crayfish signal intoxication? Researchers observed as tails were flicked, somersaults were saulted—and some of the little revelers even got to rolling on their backs like “incapacitated humans.” The researchers compared neural patterns of two groups of crayfish that were exposed to the same concentration of alcohol, one group housed in a convivial swim with other crayfish and the other consisting of specimens that had been isolated prior to drowning their sorrows. The team found that the crayfish previously exposed to other crustaceans demonstrated signs of inebriation sooner: While the isolated group took 28 minutes, the group exposed to a social environment only took 20 minutes to start getting loose. 

Earth Day Every Day in Napa

Earth Day 2017 has come and gone, but the Napa Valley Vintners is trying to make stewardship of the environment an all-the-time thing. This past Earth Day marked a milestone for the nonprofit promotional organization: 50 percent of winery- and vineyard-owning members are now enrolled or certified in the Napa Green environmental sustainability program. In March 2015, Napa Valley Vintners vowed to be totally Napa Green certified by the end of 2020.

“We couldn’t be more proud to be halfway there, just two years after making the announcement," Michael Honig, chair of the Napa Valley Vintners board of directors and president of Honig, said in a statement. "Participation in Napa Green is exacting—every detail matters. Getting certified requires a high level of commitment from winery and land owners and their employees, but it’s the right thing to do for our community and for future generations.”

The Napa Green program encourages wineries and vineyards to implement best eco-practices, including reducing water, energy and waste. More than 20,000 acres of vineyard land are in the Napa Green Land program, and 55 wineries are Napa Green certified.

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