King (LeBron) James Conquers Burgundy, Napa, Tuscany, Oregon

Plus, José Andrés' Puerto Rico heroics on '60 Minutes,' Coppola and Bourdain pair wine with brains, and Congress reps throw a bipartisan wine auction for fire relief
King (LeBron) James Conquers Burgundy, Napa, Tuscany, Oregon
LeBron James draws on the fortifying powers of resveratrol to lead the Cavs to victory over the Miami Heat. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Nov 30, 2017

It's well-known that LeBron James is something of a wine spectator himself, and judging by his Instagram account, the Cleveland Cavaliers star went through no small amount of his team's colors—wine and gold—for the occasion of his latest soiree last weekend.

Blatant traveling!

As Unfiltered continued to recover from a turkey-and-pie binge, the NBA forward had himself a Sunday wine night in, and (naturally) 'grammed the aftermath, which included perhaps his most impressive lineup of empties yet, with cult labels from Burgundy, California, Oregon and Italy. Judging by the "fresh out of Advil," quip in the caption James posted, the baller likely played a large role in polishing off some …

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Les Fairendes Premier Cru 2014
Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2007
Antica Terra Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Antikythera 2014
Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Kronos Vineyard
Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2004
Brand Napa Valley Brio 2014
Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 1997

As he's wont to do in the paint, James also played a little defense at the table. Per the postscript in his Insta caption: "Don't talk to me about wine like u [sic] know it if you really don't know what you're talking about. Seriously! Thank you!" As far as we know, basketball bud/California vintner Dwyane Wade still retains his bona fides.

José Andrés' Two Months of Puerto Rico Hurricane Heroics Get '60 Minutes' Treatment

Chef José Andrés is in Puerto Rico, cooking food for victims of Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in September and left behind a trail of destruction. That's where he's been for two months, arriving the Monday after the hurricane with $10,000 of his money in cash and asking, "Who's in charge of feeding people?" Since then, he's only taking short reprieves from cooking millions of meals—such as when he joined us at the New York Wine Experience and spoke passionately about the relief effort.

On Nov. 26, the chef appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to give viewers a glimpse at what he's been up to. The segment starts off with clips of Andrés overseeing a line of volunteers making sandwich after sandwich, heartily singing songs to them in Spanish for encouragement. He shows Cooper a close-up of his creations: "Good ham, good cheese, a lot of mayo."

In September, with the help of his organization World Central Kitchen, Andrés combined forces with local chefs and volunteers, and before long, the chef's operation was making 100,000 meals a day. At the height of his efforts, Andrés had 18 kitchens running at once around the island.

In the segment, Andrés shows how he and his thousands of volunteers cook with whatever food they can find, using techniques that are often improvised. Where Andrés has criticized the efficacy of the federal government's emergency response to Maria, the key to his team's success, he says, has been urgency: They didn't plan or meet, they just started cooking and delivering food. "Emergency in food means one thing: People are hungry."

"Food touches everything," sums up the chef, from the economy to science to health to romance. "Food has many of the opportunities to have a better tomorrow." CBS posted some footage from the episode, "Feeding Puerto Rico," online.

Fire Charity Relief a Bipartisan Effort: Reps. Thompson, Pelosi and McCarthy to Host Benefit Wine Auction

The holiday season is upon us, and that means you've no doubt already been subjected to Dad's annual complaint along the lines of, whatever happened to Democrats and Republicans working together like Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill?? Well, Unfiltered is happy to report two areas on which House leadership has found common ground: North Bay wildfire charity relief—and wine. Rep. Mike Thompson, whose district includes Napa Valley and much of Sonoma wine country, will be co-chairing a wine auction in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7 to benefit the North Bay Relief Fund under the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, and he'll be joined in co-chairing duties by both Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California State Society is helping organize the event.

"Over the years, we’ve had fires devastate our district. But time and again, our community has banded together in the face of such devastation," Thompson told Unfiltered via email. "This wine auction is yet another example of that. I’m so proud that not only the wine community in my district has stepped up to help those affected by the recent fires, but organizations like the California State Society and bipartisan members of Congress are stepping up as well. This event will do a lot of good for a lot of people, and I’m so grateful for everyone’s support."

Some of the lots on offer so far include a signed bottle of Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2014 (that would be our 2017 Wine of the Year), plus lunch at Duckhorn for six; a four-day stay at the Jackson Family Wines guest house, along with tastings and bottles to-go; five vintages of Hall's Kathryn Hall Cabernet—in 9-liter salmanazars; and four tickets each to Wine Spectator's Grand Tour tasting in D.C. and Whisky Advocate's WhiskyFest, both in April 2018. Anyone interested in attending the auction should email the California State Society at

Kutcher, Kunis, Krug, Keller, Kostow, To Kalon Star in Lots for Napa & Sonoma Relief Auction

"A Night of Friendship & Fellowship," the all-star charity benefit dinner at the Culinary Institute of America dining room in St. Helena, will feature an auction of heady wine-and-food experiences to complement the proceeds raised for North Bay wildfires victims.

On Dec. 2, enophile/cinephiles can bid on a dinner at Wine Spectator Grand Award winner the Restaurant at Meadowood with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. Francophiles can opt for packages that include large-format bottles of rarities from Krug, Dom Pérignon, Cheval-Blanc, Latour, DRC, Leflaive, Ramonet and more. Napa-philes might be interested in dinner—for 50—cooked by Thomas Keller, Christopher Kostow and Kyle Connaughton, or perhaps the "Ultimate To Kalon Immersion," a weekend of wining and dining at such addresses as Opus One, with pairings by experts like vineyard maven Andy Beckstoffer. Get more details about the Dec. 2 dinner, or find out more about the lots and online bidding by emailing

Coppola and Bourdain Pair Wine with Brains

It's been 10 seasons now that Anthony Bourdain has hopped around the globe devouring every food imaginable, and then some, on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. For the occasion of his 10th season finale this past Sunday, Bourdain traveled to a (relatively) unknown part of a very gastronomically known country: southeastern Italy, the “heel” of the boot. There, Bourdain met up with none other than California vintner/filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola for an afternoon of munching lamb-brain casseroles paired with Italian—and Inglenook—wines.

The Family Coppola
FFC and Tony

In the course of talking food culture, family history and The Godfather at Palazzo Margherita, Coppola's historic hotel in the town of Bernalda in Basilicata, the dining companions touch on wine: “I went into the wine business for accidental reasons, but I never wanted to be an expert," says Coppola during taping. "I really enjoy wine more with food.” The chef replies, “I spent so long in the business, I don’t like to evaluate food. Same with wine. The older I get, the more I want to experience it kind of emotionally, like a kid.”

Unfiltered found out that the wines the two experienced on this particular occasion included Coppola's Inglenook Rubicon Napa Cabernet and Edizione Pennino Zinfandel, as well as the local La Firma Aglianico del Vuture from Cantine del Notaio in Basilicata and "F" Negroamaro from San Marzano in Puglia. In addition to the brains, Coppola and Bourdain dug into the former's childhood favorites like braciole di cotenna (stuffed pig skin rolls) and lampascioni (fried hyacinth bulbs). Watch the rap session at the Parts Unknown website.

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