The 136th U.S. Open begins this Sunday at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y., but the pros are already here. On Wednesday evening, Champagne house Moët & Chandon brought out five-time U.S. Open champion and Moët brand ambassador Roger Federer to toast the house’s newest vintage, the 2008 Grand Vintage Rosé Imperial. Chef Enrique Olvera, of Cosme in New York and Pujol in Mexico City, was tableside to coach Federer in the preparation of the first course, a vibrant scallop aguachile.
Federer, who was especially zealous with the cucumber sauce and started eating the ingredients before finishing the dish, admitted he was comfortable in the role of sous chef: “I’m used to being the helper in the kitchen!”
Olvera is a mezcal enthusiast, but revealed a special fondness for bubbly. “I used to work with a chef who always drank Champagne at the end of the night,” he said. “For me, drinking Champagne is more fun when you’re making food versus eating the food.” Thankfully, there was a chance to do both: Moët’s 2008 and 1998 vintages of the Grand Vintage rosé and Grand Vintage Collection rosé, respectively, were poured to commemorate significant dates in Federer’s tennis career.
Later this week, world No. 1 men’s player, longtime Federer rival and budding vintner Novak Djokovic will be warming up for the final Grand Slam event of the season with Australian winery Jacob’s Creek, the official wine of the U.S. Open, and a pairing menu with chef Jeff Haskell. The tournament’s Food Village will feature a new Jacob’s Creek wine bar showcasing the winery's Two Lands wines.
The Moët & Chandon Terrace (the only Champagne bar at the tournament) returns this year to the patio near the U.S. Open Club, while Chicago chef Tony Mantuano (the chef behind Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning Spiaggia) has updated his menu for returning fans. Chef David Chang will also be serving up his Fuku chicken sandwiches at the Open. This morning he tweeted a photo of a spicy chicken sandwich covered in pickles, draped in bacon and dripping with ranch dressing, calling it "The McEnroe." Unfiltered can already hear the legendarily brash McEnroe's reaction … "You cannot be serious!!!"
A Wine Crime TV Drama, Ripped from the Headlines
Are wine criminals becoming TV's favorite new supervillains? Earlier this year we brought word of AMC's Feed the Beast, a drama centered around a sommelier (played by David Schwimmer) and a chef in cahoots with an organized-crime ring. This week we've learned that USA Network is developing a drama that sounds an awful lot like the Rudy Kurniawan story …. Variety reports that Connoisseur will star actor John Cho (Star Trek's Sulu, Harold & Kumar's Harold) as a wine-savvy con artist who dupes his uber-wealthy marks into paying millions of dollars for fake trophy wines. Predictably, the confidence game finds our fraudster on the wrong side of both the law and the mob. No word yet on whether, like Connoisseur's infamous real-world inspiration, the character lives with his mom.
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon's New Fine-Wine Incentive Program
The Chicago Cubs' All-Star shortstop Addison Russell made a beautiful diving play in the field earlier this week, on top of hitting his 18th homerun of the season, and he was richly rewarded in the clubhouse by manager Joe Maddon with a bottle of Justin Isosceles, a Bordeaux-style red blend from Paso Robles. Earlier this month at a charity event hosted by the Cubs skipper, Russell indicated he liked a particular type of red wine. "I told him I have an even better one," Maddon told ESPN. "Isosceles." "Maddon’s totally got our endorsement on his perfect pairing!" Justin marketing VP Clarence Chia told Unfiltered via e-mail. "An exceptional play always merits an exceptional bottle of Isosceles.”