The Knicks' Wine-Soaked Amar'e Stoudemire
• The last time Unfiltered checked in on the New York Knicks, All-Star Carmelo Anthony was sipping Dom Pérignon in Red Hook, Brooklyn, during Fashion Week. Turns out that while his teammate enjoys sipping wine, fellow Knicks All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire prefers soaking in it, at least according to his Instagram account. Amar'e, explaining the selfie he posted from a tub full of red wine to Knicks.com's Jonah Ballow, said he’s been taking these recuperative baths for the past six to eight months, as part of his regular regimen of post-workout recovery. Vinotherapy, as it is now called, goes back to the early 1990s, when Mathilde Cathiard-Thomas, daughter of Smith-Haut-Lafitte co-owner Florence Cathiard, found a way to monetize grape solids that typically were just treated as refuse. She founded a skincare company and spa called Caudalie. It offers treatments and skin products that feature grapeseed oil and other grape and wine products. A natural extension was to offer a bath of antioxidant-rich red wine.
But are there really any health benefits to this practice? To date there hasn’t been any conclusive study to go one way or the other. All Unfiltered knows is that if the injury-prone Stoudemire can rebound with the help of a red-wine bath, we're going to be seeing a lot more of them in NBA locker rooms.
• Bordeaux's Château Pontet-Canet, in Pauillac, has gained international fame and a bit of notoriety in the past decade or so as a maverick estate in the rarefied world of high-end Bordeaux, where there are certain accepted ways of doing things. Under Alfred Tesseron's leadership, it was the first, and still among the only, Grand Cru Classé properties to go fully biodynamic, for example. The château's latest unusual move, however, is an involuntary one. In order to qualify for the Pauillac AOC, wines must be approved for quality by a panel of tasters. For the 2012 vintage, which will start hitting store shelves later this year, the château's second label (a less pricey wine that can still deliver very solid quality at top estates in the tier of Pontet-Canet), Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet, was rejected by the AOC panel, meaning it will have to bear the lowly Vin de France designation.
"Like every year, we have presented our wines, and to our utter astonishment, Hauts de Pontet-Canet 2012 has not received their authorization," Tesseron told Unfiltered. Fortunately for Pontet-Canet, its reputation has granted it Vin Don't-Give-a-Fig status year-in and year-out, so Tesseron is not concerned. "On my behalf, I am very proud of this wine and absolutely sure of its quality, as 99.99 percent of the Bordeaux wine merchants confirmed their en primeur purchases under the mention 'Vin de France,'" though it was sold with the expectation of being labeled Pauillac. "It’s becoming a collector [item]!" Though the AOC panel conducts its tastings blind, Unfiltered will simply observe that not all of Tesseron's unorthodox plays have won him friends in the region. Earlier this year, Pontet-Canet ruffled feathers by releasing their en primeur 2013 wine in March—way ahead of the typical schedule and before most critics and buyers had even tasted the Bordeaux barrel samples—and selling 70 percent of it on the first day.
• State wine regulations, and the enforcement thereof, are always a hot-button issue among wine lovers and industry folks. At the beginning of this year, in an unprecedented bust, the state of Pennsylvania charged attorney Arthur Goldman with misdemeanor illegal importing and selling wine for bringing in high-end bottles that the Pennsylvania state alcohol monopoly didn't carry and selling them out of his basement cellar. The January raid on Goldman's home netted more than 2,000 bottles of wine valued at between $125,000 and $200,000. As a first-time offender, Goldman agreed to pay a fine and do 300 hours of community service, and will have his record expunged after two years of probation, but the fate of the 2,000-plus bottles of wine is yet to be determined. According to the Bloomberg news agency, the state plans to destroy the bottles—Pennsylvania's liquor code allows for only two options: destruction, or donation to a hospital (perhaps Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital in France?). But Goldman, who only had about 15 to 20 clients in his illegal wine-sales operation (most of them fellow wine-loving friends; one of them a narc) is filing an appeal, claiming that most of the wine was part of his personal collection and should be returned to him. Unfiltered just hopes it finds a good home with someone who will enjoy it.