• Bill Legion just loves Alabama. No, he's not the governor or even a native. It's all because Alabama banned his wine Cycles Gladiator, deeming the label "pornographic," and he couldn't be happier. "The publicity from this is so much greater than any wine we'd ship to Alabama," says Legion, president of Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, Calif. The Cycles Gladiator label, a replica of an 1895 French bicycle advertisement, features a fanciful image of a nude woman flying alongside a bike amid a star-filled sky. "It's absurd to think it's pornographic," Legion says. The control board even went so far as to ask the winery never to submit the label again, Legion says, "because it's offending people in the office." Banning things is a rich tradition in Alabama. Nearly half the state is dry, no alcohol, nada. It recently outlawed the sale of all sex toys, and interracial marriage was technically illegal until 2000.
The bottle in question, having been recovered by Boston police.
• Boston Police have recovered a $20,000 bottle of Château Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac 1945 that was stolen from a Massachusetts liquor store last Wednesday. A store security camera filmed two men as they pilfered the 1945 along with three other bottles of Bordeaux, including two bottles of Mouton-Rothschild 2000, from Hopkinton Wine & Spirits. A woman who is suspected of being an accomplice entered the store at the same time and distracted the clerk by asking him questions while the thieves stuffed the bottles in their pants. Clelland Johnson, who took ownership of the bottle when he purchased the shop five years ago, said that the men seemed to know exactly what to look for, since they were only in the store for a few minutes and went directly to the cupboard where the wine was kept. The police called an elated Johnson at his home on Sunday night to tell him that they had recovered the unopened bottle; the other bottles are still missing. Police have the name of one of the suspects but have not released further information because the investigation is ongoing. Unfiltered loves a story with a happy ending, but we suggest Johnson implement tighter security from now on, since that bottle costs more than some cars.
Curtis Granderson raises a glass to charity.
• Baseball player Curtis Granderson has had a pretty good summer. Not only did the Detroit Tigers' outfielder score the winning run in July's All-Star game, but he also recently harnessed the power of wine to raise thousands of dollars for his charity, the Grand Kids Foundation. With the help of the non-profit Detroit Wine Organization, Granderson served an array of well-regarded wines, including Joseph Phelps Insignia 1995 and Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande Pauillac 1989 to guests at host venue Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham, Mich. There was also a bachelor auction, in which dinner dates with Granderson and teammates Edwin Jackson and Ryan Perry went to the highest bidder (or in Granderson's case, two bidders, each of whom spent $6,500 and will share their evening with the Tiger). Also on hand was Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who granted Jackson permission to remove his shirt so as to show off his tattoos to potential bidders, then took off his own shirt for reasons not entirely clear to Unfiltered, as the 64-year-old manager was not one of the bachelors being auctioned off. The auction raised a "grand" total of $50,000, however, so we'll forgive the partial nudity for a great cause.
Hairy Putter, dog-blogger.
• Well, now you've heard everything. Mendocino County, home to a critical mass of organic and biodynamic wineries, is a hidden gem among California's wine regions, home to lush Pinots, diverse whites and high-quality sparkling wines. But now, Mendocino's truly got it all, including a dog-blogger. That would be Hairy Putter, the county's new official wine and food blogger. Recently, Putter, a West Highland Terrier, whose owner, Alan Ahtow, has been helping him, blogged about his visit to Goldeneye Winery in the Anderson Valley. He reasoned that if Goldeneye was good enough for President Obama, it was good enough for him. Putter blogs about dog-friendly Mendocino County wineries and restaurants, and all of his reviews include photos, contact information and one-to-four paw ratings. His owner is taking a good-natured attitude towards Hairy's success. Says Ahtow, "This has all happened so fast. I just hope it doesn't get to the point where he demands stretch limos with skylights he can stick his head through."
• If there are two things that are certain in this world, it's that Kendall-Jackson owner Jess Jackson loves his horses, and Jess Jackson loves his wine. Those two things were bound to come together eventually. Kendall-Jackson Winery recently announced that Rachel Alexandra, one of Jackson's newest racing horses and the winner of this year's Kentucky Oaks and the Preakness, will be featured on the label of a limited edition series of wines. In addition, until November, Kendall-Jackson will be gradually auctioning off Rachel Alexandra memorabilia on their website to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The first item is a halter worn by the three-year old filly before her Preakness Stakes victory workouts. We're not sure what we'd do with a halter, but we already know what we'll be pouring for next year's Kentucky Oaks.