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This week we learned that Napa's Dominus Estate is returning to an old tradition for its 30th anniversary vintage: The label for the 2013 vintage will feature a portrait of proprietor Christian Moueix. The first Dominus labels, from 1983 to 1990, all featured illustrations of Moueix by different international artists; the 2013 vintage portrait, by South African William Kentridge, is a "deconstructed likeness" using a collage of ink and charcoal drawings which "conveys the complexity, depth and sensibility of its subject," or so the press release tells us. And Moueix says this is going to be a special one: "For me, [2013 is] the vintage of a lifetime."
But speaking of that lifetime, we got to thinking that all those portraits made over a 30-year span must make for a pretty fun scrapbook, so we asked Moueix to share a few of the older ones with us and take a stroll down memory lane. "Thirty years! I would say [it felt like] yesterday if the portraits were not there to remind me … 30 years!" Moueix exclaimed. "It took me that long to understand the great terroir of Napanook [Vineyard] … 30 years! It will take that long before the 2013, my best vintage, will reach its peak … Then, we will drink it together."
40 Years Later, Congress Honors the Paris Tasting
The Paris Tasting of 1976, in which Napa's Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Chateau Montelena bested some of the top wines in Bordeaux and Burgundy in a blind tasting, took place 40 years ago this week, and earlier this month the U.S. Congress commemorated the event. Rep. Mike Thompson, whose Fifth District in California includes Napa and much of Sonoma wine country, hosted a reception by the Congressional Wine Caucus to honor the participants in the landmark wine tasting. Nearly 500 people gathered in the Caucus Room of the Capital’s Cannon House Office Building to fete the U.S. wineries that participated, along with event organizer Steven Spurrier and journalist George Taber, whose brief article in Time magazine brought the U.S. triumph to broad attention. Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews was invited to make remarks about the remarkable progress of the U.S. wine industry since 1976.
Thompson also introduced a House Resolution to commemorate the event, which found 64 cosponsors, a rare bipartisan show of support. None of the Judgment of Paris' French participants were in attendance, however—not surprising considering they have for 40 years done a rather convincing job of pretending it never happened.
Cheech Marin's New Habit: Mezcal
Comedian Cheech Marin has long been famous for his … ahem … recreational pursuits. (Fun fact: Marin's old Up in Smoke comedy partner, Tommy Chong, once spent time in the same correctional facility in which convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan now resides.) These days, however, the Mexican distilled spirit mezcal is his favorite hobby, and last week he was in New York to launch his very own brand, Tres Papalote Mezcal. His old friend and Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera was on hand to help celebrate at Black Barn restaurant, where cocktails like "The Cheech" (Papalote, grilled pineapple, serrano chile, lime and agave syrup—great if you're thirsty and have the munchies at the same time) were the order of the day. The new mezcal features an image of a glass sculpture by artists Einar and Jamex de la Torre from Marin's extensive collection of Chicano artworks, and the agave is sourced from the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico.
But before you think Marin has gone serious for his $60 bottle of mezcal, you might want to check out his video for Tres Papalote, in which he portrays an over-the-top caricature of a Latin American revolutionary …
Champagne and Charity Pair Well at Cannes
Last week we told you about all the Bordeaux on hand at the Cannes Film Festival in France, but it's not a real Hollywood hobnob until someone pops the bubbly, and at the festival's 23rd annual amfAR Cinema Against AIDS Gala, Moët & Chandon delivered. Twenty-three magnums of Moët's new MCIII label, and a custom cellar to house them, hit the auction block May 19, fetching $110,000 for the Foundation for AIDS Research. In total, the event raised a whopping $25 million.
There was plenty of Champagne to go around though—stars like Kevin Spacey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom and Heidi Klum were treated to Moët & Chandon Impérial in magnum. Noting that a camouflage Ferrari sold for $1.1 million, Unfiltered suspects those magnums greased the wheels on more than a few bids.
In the Spirit of Memorial Day, Riunite Supports Families of Soldiers
When it comes to choosing wines for your Memorial Day celebrations, there are a few approaches you can take. For the gourmand, it's all about choosing wines to pair with burgers, hot dogs or whatever you throw on the grill. Or maybe you've got this weekend bookmarked for white pants and chilled rosé. For the host or hostess on a budget, check out our picks for value summer sippers. But for the reveler staying true to the meaning of Memorial Day, Riunite Lambrusco might pique your interest.
The well-known fizzy Italian red has partnered with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) organization to raise money for those who have been affected by a death in the United States Armed Forces. Over the past four years, the Banfi-owned wine brand has raised $1 million for the charity and will continue to fund-raise with a new initiative. During May and June, the company will donate a portion of the proceeds of each bottle sold to the organization, which provides emotional support, resources and seminars for adults, as well as Good Grief Camps for children of fallen American soldiers.