Sean Payton Steals a Trophy (Wine)
• The New Orleans Saints have pulled off another interception. The reigning NFL Super Bowl champions were known for forcing turnovers last season, most famously picking off Peyton Manning for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to clench the victory. Apparently head coach Sean Payton knows how to steal a prize too. Last weekend, Payton and his coaching staff were in Indianapolis for the annual NFL scouting combine. Friday night, they dined at the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winning St. Elmo Steak House. When Payton found out that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had reserved the same private room for dinner the following night and asked for a magnum of Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 to be put aside, the Saints coach decided he also wanted the Caymus. The staff told him it was the last bottle. Payton, the same man who inspired his underdogs to a Super Bowl win and then took the Lombardi trophy to bed that night, would not be refused. After some cajoling, the staff brought him the magnum. After the Saints enjoyed their dinner and wine, Payton left the bottle for Jones, with the inscription: "Who Dat! World Champions XLIV, Sean Payton." Reached in Napa, Caymus proprietor Chuck Wagner told Unfiltered, "I'm glad to hear people were enjoying the wine, especially since the ’07s are drinking well." Both Payton and Jones insisted afterward that it was all in good fun—Payton was an assistant coach for the Cowboys from 2003 to 2005. But the two teams are both contenders for the NFC championship in 2010 and will meet in Dallas during the regular season. Unfiltered wonders which wine the winner will enjoy?
• Speaking of champions and controversial trophy wines, Unfiltered was happy to see Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn survive her gold medal celebration unscathed by broken Champagne bottles, but we weren’t surprised to learn that the Vancouver Games did include at least one sparkling wine controversy. After receiving their gold medals for winning the Olympic hockey tournament, the Canadian women’s team returned to the ice to revel in their victory with sparkling wine, Molson Canadian and cigars. Unfortunately, at least one of the celebrants, Marie Philip-Poulin (who scored both goals in Canada’s 2-0 victory over the American women), is still shy of British Columbia’s drinking age of 19. After the International Olympic Committee’s expected tsk-tsk’ing, the Canadians apologized. And Poulin will turn 19 this month. Unfiltered will hold off on our cheers until then.
• An entire generation of teenage girls took cues for how to navigate high school from Tiger Beat mainstay Molly Ringwald, the wide-eyed redheaded star of The Breakfast Club and 16 Candles. Nearly 20 years later, it only makes sense that now that everyone's all grown-up, the Brat Pack lifetime membership card holder is back to offer advice on life after 40. Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, her forthcoming new memoir, will reveal life lessons she's gleaned from years in the spotlight, including some of interest for wine lovers. Ringwald will purportedly offer pairing suggestions and wine tips she picked up from taking a French cooking class. We can't wait. Sure, it's a far cry from the keg and flask set pieces from her big-screen adolescence, but that doesn't change the fact that the girl with whom we most wanted to share a slice of birthday cake is one that we'd want to open a bottle of wine with as well.
• In case you aren't throwing your own Oscars party, Unfiltered has the details on who will be pouring which wines and where. The Elton John AIDS Foundation annual Academy Awards viewing party and gala dinner in Hollywood will have Sterling Vineyards wines on hand for the fourth consecutive year. Parent company Diageo is a longtime sponsor of the non-profit organization, and this year is offering the California winery's SVR 2006 and the Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008. And should you make it to the Governor's Ball in Los Angeles to hobnob with the winners, you can sip some of the 1,200 bottles of Moët & Chandon Champagne NV being poured alongside Wolfgang Puck's cuisine.
• Unfiltered has long known that interstate wine shipping is a sticky issue in the state of Pennsylvania, but the story of Frank Digorio Sr.’s shipped-and-eventually-received bottle of bubbly is another thing entirely. Mr. Digorio, a resident of Brookline, Pa., purchased a bottle of Martini & Rossi Asti NV for his son’s birthday, packaged it up and shipped it to him in California. The bottle arrived at Frank Jr.’s home in early January—nearly 25 years after it had been sent. Frank Digorio Sr. told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he’d selected the bottle for his son back in 1985 because “he’s single, and I thought it might come in handy.” It’s unclear whether the package got lost, spent time in a so-called “dead letter office” or was perhaps walked across the country on foot, but one thing is clear: As Asti is not made for long-term aging, that bottle has surely outlived its “drink by” window, and Frank Jr., who told the Post-Gazette that he’s “still single,” would probably be better off purchasing something new the next time he’s entertaining company.
Le Pré aux Clercs chef Jean-Pierre Billoux cooks up something no doubt Dijon mustard-infused at Must'Art.
• The Dijonnais invaded New York this week, with mustard tastings in Grand Central Station, a wine-and-food pairing at the French Embassy-Cultural Services in conjunction with an art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Burgundy wine auction at Sotheby's. Dijon Must'Art celebrates the opening of The Mourners at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a showcase of 40 medieval statues that have never before been seen outside of Dijon, France. The Met kicks off a two-year tour of the sculptures that ends at the Cluny Museum in Paris before returning to Dijon. Burgundy producers including Domaine Humbert Frères and Joseph Faiveley have also been conducting tastings at the various events. And on March 3, Sotheby's auctioned off magnums and two jeroboams donated by 41 winemakers to raise money for the Dijon Museum of Fine Arts, totaling $35,000. The two top lots were a magnum of 1992 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet that went for $4,000 and a magnum of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St.-Vivant 2000 that sold for $3,000.