As professional sports continue to game out how they'll return, the NBA recently announced plans to return to the court next month with a 22-team, eight-game season. But details are still up in the air, so in the meantime, Portland Trail Blazer and 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony has been keeping up his "off"-season regimen of pouring a glass of wine every Monday night and calling in an A-list guest to chat. In the latest episodes of Anthony's “What’s in Your Glass?” YouTube series, Melo caught up with rapper T.I., young Los Angeles Lakers star Kyle Kuzma, Good Morning America host Michael Strahan and D.J. D-Nice to talk about returning to basketball and the recent protests gripping the nation, but also the joys of aged Burgundy.
“There’s a saying in wine culture that says all roads of wine lead to Burgundy,” Anthony told Strahan while sipping a 2004 Joseph Drouhin Clos de la Roche. “Once you go Burgundy you’re not going back.” Strahan toasted to that with a glass of La Fête du Rosé, a new rosé brand out of St.-Tropez, made by his good friend Donae Burston.
“Rosé wine in America had previously been marketed as an uber-feminine, whimsical summer water catering to women in the Hamptons, Nantucket, and South Florida,” Burston explained to Unfiltered via email. “We wanted to change that … specifically for people of color, and also to include men!” (Anthony recently hosted Burston, who donates a portion of the winery’s proceeds to programs for underprivileged childred and racial equality, on Instagram Live as well.)
As for the Drouhin Clos de la Roche grand cru, “Carmelo nailed it perfectly: It is never a big wine but it always delivers a lot,” Véronique Boss-Drouhin, head winemaker at Maison Joseph Drouhin, told us. "Now that he’s in Portland, we hope he’ll visit us at Domaine Drouhin Oregon.”
In his confab with Kuzma, the veteran Anthony reminisced on the bad old days of being a lonely enophile-baller. Early on, players would refuse to dine with Anthony if he was drinking wine, and now teammates won’t join him unless there is wine. “I would say probably 50 to 60 percent of NBA players are wine lovers,” Anthony said. The young Lakers power forward is a shining example of that new-generation mindset. He pulled out a Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel 2018 rosé for the chat, while Anthony sipped on a Golden State favorite, the Bedrock Montecillo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.
“We were honored to see our wine being enjoyed by Carmelo Anthony—and not only because Chris [Cottrell] (Bedrock consigliere), is a life-long Knicks fan and spent many years rooting for Melo," Morgan Twain-Peterson, winemaker and owner of Bedrock Wine Co., told Unfiltered. "More than that, we are proud that it was even a small part of a discussion involving much larger and more important topics we should all be thinking deeply about right now.”
Last night, Anthony brought D-Nice into the parlor; you know him as the party of the (pandemic) season, #ClubQuarantine, the virtual bash that attracted who's whos from Drake to Michelle Obama to Bobby Flay. Anthony stayed in his Burgundy comfort zone with a Domaine Comtes Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 2006, while D-Nice sipped on his go-to Caymus Cab. D-Nice declared himself a “Barolo guy” now with a dream of making his own wine. “This is a passion of mine. I’m still a novice when it comes to understanding wine properly, but I go to vineyards a lot, I go to Napa a lot.”
When T.I. made an appearance, he mixed things up with something a little stronger than wine: Cincoro, the new tequila brand from Michael Jordan. Anthony’s chats with Kuzma and T.I. were held after the death of George Floyd, which sparked protests against police brutality and broader conversations about racism across the globe; the ruminations turned to more serious topics.
“I’m torn up just like everybody else,” T.I. said. “The main message that I have to the youth is that we support you; we may not always understand you, and it’s going to take a lot of what you got and a little bit of what we’ve got mixed in together to defeat this beast that we have ahead of us.”
“We have to continue to pass these stories along, because if we don’t, then it’s just going to go back to what it’s always been,” Kuzma said. “Educate yourself on the policies and on what the politicians believe in and see if it matches up with what you do, because that's where the ultimate change comes from.”
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.