Back in the olden days, the only wine flavors were "red" and "white," we had to walk the vineyards ourselves—uphill, both ways—and there were no robots to drink our Champagne for us. But the future is now, and that means the phrase "wine-backed cryptocurrency" exists in reality.
OpenVino is a new project from winemaker Mike Barrow of Costaflores Organic Vineyard in Mendoza that lets you buy the winery's Mike Tango Bravo 2018 red blend with MTB18 tokens—that would be the digital "cryptocurrency"—during its "ICO" ("initial coin offering") through May 20. For now, each token equals a little less than 5 bucks, which equals one bottle, but starting in July, the tokens can be traded, bitcoin-style, on crypto exchanges; however you acquire your wine-computer-coin, you can ultimately cash in three years from now once the wine is finished.
It's the latest of the technologies Barrow has implemented that sound more like TED-talk than wine-speak ("blockchain," "biodigital certification"). Barrow told Unfiltered OpenVino was inspired by wine-biz problems like accurately determining a correct price for wines, and communicating the viticultural process to customers.
To the latter issue, Barrow has installed sensors, cameras and labor-tracking tools in the vineyard and winery ("Internet of Vines") his customers can access. “It is open-source, because anyone can reutilize, copy, comment upon, or criticize our practices in the vineyard, in the [winery] and in the business,” Barrow said.
Jackson Family Wines chairman Barbara Banke's thoroughbred Good Magic made a big splash at Churchill Downs earlier this month, finishing second in the Kentucky Derby. (To be fair, all 20 horses made a big splash, as the nearly 3 inches of rain recorded in Louisville, Ky., May 5 was a Derby Day record.) "Our horse ran really well," Banke told Unfiltered in a follow-up chat this week. "He did alright in the slop, which is good, because it could be equally as sloppy for the [Preakness]!"
"It was a tough race, with lots of good horses. It's tough to run a mile and a quarter with all those competitors—a 20-horse field," Banke said. "Good Magic bounced back with very good energy, ate up all his food, he's doing all the things you like to see them do when they come out of a race well." And because of that, last year's Champion 2-Year-Old is headed to Baltimore, where he'll be running in the Preakness Stakes this weekend at Pimlico Race Course. Unfiltered readers will know that Good Magic was sired by Curlin, the two-time Horse of the Year that won the Preakness in 2007. "The track seems made for him, because Good Magic—actually more than Curlin—is a horse that can corner well, and the turns are a little tighter at Pimlico than they are at Churchill Downs, so you've got to be a fairly handy horse to make it around, and he is."
Banke's Stonestreet Stables team is hoping to have more Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet on hand Saturday, but she'll be prepared for anything. "Sometimes we end up drinking Maryland wines … You need something to go with crab cakes, so I'm sure it's going to be Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for us."
When the NFL's New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs back in January, All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan sent a special parting gift to Panthers QB Cam Newton: A bottle of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2013. Jordan winery owner and football fan John Jordan caught wind of the epic wine trolling dished out by the gridiron-based Jordan and invited the Saint out to Sonoma for a visit. Football Jordan still hasn't made it to Sonoma to visit Wine Jordan, but last week the two finally met (and compared wine-tasting notes) in New Orleans.
On Friday night, John Jordan hosted a reception and Jordan wine-pairing dinner at Restaurant R'evolution in the French Quarter's Royal Sonesta Hotel, where attendees were wowed by two very special guests of honor: an 18-liter Melchior of 2013 Jordan Cabernet, and the 6' 4", 287-pound Cameron Jordan. In between signing autographs and entertaining the crowd, the two Jordans discovered they have a lot more than just football, wine and a surname in common. John has his pilot's license, and Cameron has logged more than 20 hours in the cockpit; both also love to fish.
The NFL star confirmed to Unfiltered that Jordan Cabernet is his favorite wine, just ahead of Caymus Special Selection and Trefethen HaLo, and gave us his exclusive notes on the night's wines: "I enjoy smooth reds … The 2013 Jordan Cabernet out of Melchior was great, but my favorite wine of the night was the 2003 Jordan, which reminded me of my favorite Jordan vintage, the 2011. I discovered that I like the more Old World–style vintages.”
“It was the perfect evening," John told Unfiltered. "Got to talk football and fishing in the Gulf with my new friend Cam Jordan while enjoying some of the best food in New Orleans. What more can a man ask for?”
Champagne Drappier's bottles are so nice, they want you to enjoy them twice. The sustainability-focused Champagne house recently launched a gift set featuring a bottle of Drappier, paired with a onetime bottle that's been upcycled into a candle.
To make the candles, empties are hand-cut and polished, then filled with soy wax, and a message from Charline Drappier is emblazoned on the also-recycled gift box. "Drappier is the first [Champagne] house committed to a net zero-carbon footprint, and has a global vision of organic agriculture [and] sustainability," she told Unfiltered. "Recycling is a natural part of our approach."
'Tis the season for #RoséAllDay, and Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner City Winery New York has a new limited-edition pink charity wine on the market, in honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month.
On sale now through the end of May, the We Are IntertWined cuvée is a 2017 rosé of Syrah from California's North Coast, made in partnership with New York Foundling, a non-profit child-welfare agency. The We Are IntertWined 2017 rosé retails for $20 and 25 percent of sales will be donated to the Foundling.
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