It's a safe bet that we're going to start seeing a lot of blush-filled wineglasses on sidewalk-café tables in the coming weeks—rosé has never been more popular. So when actress-vintner Drew Barrymore, a longtime rosé lover, decided to add another bottling to her Barrymore Wines portfolio, the decision to think pink was an easy one. "I got lucky, because I love rosé and I've been drinking rosé for most of my wine-drinking career," she told Unfiltered, "I'm happy that it's so popular, and what's happened in the industry is really extraordinary. It gave me the validity to make it."
Barrymore collaborated with Carmel Road winemaker Kris Kato (the two previously worked together on Barrymore Pinot Grigio and Carmel Road Drew's Blend Pinot Noir), to create her 2015 Pinot Noir Monterey rosé. "I've learned that the more you insert yourself in the winemaking process, the more you will produce juice that is truly something you stand by," she said. She describes the final product as light, dry and a "beautiful peach color" and recommends pairing it with Japanese cuisine, spicy food and French fries.
The rosé, which retails for $18, hits the market next week, but Barrymore is already musing on her next project—she's been traveling and tasting, recently visiting St.-Emilion in Bordeaux; she's also "Beaujolais-obsessed" and a big fan of Pinot Nero, but don't rule out a sparkling rosé, either, which is another favorite of hers. She's clearly taken a shine to her winemaking role, though, so we expect to hear more from Barrymore wines in the future. "It's definitely been one of the more pleasurable jobs that I've ever had," she said.
Have you ever looked at a photo of Christie Brinkley and asked yourself, "What's her secret?" (We certainly have.) Well, here's your answer: She loves bubbly. The 62-year-old model recently professed her love for sparkling wines, claiming to drink three glasses of Champagne or Prosecco a day. She cited Champagne's potential brain benefits, telling fashion and lifestyle website The Coveteur, "Doctor's orders: three glasses of Champagne a day! So I’m on it! Isn’t that good?!”
The ageless beauty really is "on it," taking her penchant for bubbly one step further by launching her own line of organic Proseccos and sparkling wines. Bellissima Prosecco is produced in Italy's Treviso region and includes two bubblies made from the region's native Glera grape, a brut Prosecco and a "zero sugar" sparkling wine, as well as a sparkling Pinot Grigio rosé. Brinkley launched the label last week in Las Vegas at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America convention and proudly posed with the bottles of her design. Each features a colorful reinterpretation of Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, a fitting symbol for the brand's name, which means "lovely" in Italian. The $20 sparklers are expected to hit retail shelves in early summer.
Unfiltered received a smoke-tinged dispatch from Cuba this week, from none other than Fred "Sparky" Schrader of Napa's Schrader Cellars. He had just finished his new limited-edition release of Schrader MMXIII "Sparky 2" cigars (2,500 six-pack boxes made, $84, selling exclusively through Nat Sherman Cigars beginning May 17) and wanted to size them up against the competition. "Why not take a bundle of Schrader Sparky cigars to Cuba with me on my cultural exchange and try them there against the legendary island's finest?" Schrader wrote. "Cuban cigars are some of my favorites, so this would be fun and, of course, very hard work that was helped along with some Havana Club Maximo XO Rum."
Not shockingly, this isn't a guy named Sparky's first puff: He previously released the Schrader Doco-Est MMIX "Sparky" cigars in 2010. And it turns out he's not alone in the echelon of cigar-making vintners. Copper Cane's Joe Wagner, who last year tidily divested himself of the Meiomi Pinot Noir label, sells the Avrae brand of cigars created specifically to pair with red wine, and Brian Chinnock of Napa's Chinnock Cellars sells three French-themed cigars named Cremoir, Pressoir and Terroir.
A Chinese train from Wuhan arrived in Lyon, France, April 21 following a 15-day journey covering 6,800 miles. It had hauled 41 containers of chemicals and electronics from China’s overstocked factories as part of the country’s "One Belt, One Road" plan to boost its trade along the ancient Silk Roads. The train is now making the return journey stocked with French wine and other goods.
The Wuhan-Lyon train will run three times a week, passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, avoiding a sea voyage that would have taken around 40 days. The French have expressed a keen interest in satisfying China’s thirst for wine. "The products that interest the Chinese are those with high added value, produced in Lyon—luxury products but also agricultural products, mainly wine,” said Gilles Cheval, a regional director at the French rail company SNCF.
This is not the first wine train headed to China. Last June, a Chinese train left Madrid carrying wine, olive oil and fruit juice. The development of the train routes—not easy given the differences in train tracks in certain countries, follows the March 2015 announcement by the Chinese government that it would reopen the ancient trading routes under the Silk Road Economic Initiative. The Chinese started off with 60 potential partners in Europe and Asia, but have since extended the offer to Africa as well.