Unfiltered

Dr. Dre and the Grenache thang, senators wager wine on football and the silliest greeting card of the year
Dec 28, 2005

• It must be a "G" thang. Richard Betts, sommelier at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., and Dennis Scholl, a Miami-based art collector, took their cue from one of hip-hop's defining albums when it came to naming their latest Betts & Scholl Barossa Valley Grenache. As Betts explains it, blending sessions are normally serious work, with lots of sipping, note taking and spitting, but this particular blend "just kept getting drunk, it didn't get spit. It was rather chronic in its own right." So Betts, a fan of hip-hop, decided to call it like he saw it and named the 2003 wine The Chronique, inspired by Dr. Dre's 1992 debut solo album The Chronic. (The French spelling was easier to get past the government powers that control wine labeling.) "It's definitely a shout-out to Dr. Dre in its most inspirational form. It's pretty fun music, but it really reflected our sentiment," says Betts. Wouldn't you know it, Dr. Dre and his family happened to be at Little Nell for Thanksgiving dinner. The resort didn't yet have the wine at the time, but Betts has since shipped the rapper and producer a case and is awaiting his feedback. If Dre likes The Chronique, maybe on his next album he'll make the first sommelier shout-out in recording history.

• The stakes are so high in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4—when the top-ranked USC Trojans play the No. 2 Texas Longhorns for the NCAA national championship—that they lead all the way up Capitol Hill. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have made a friendly wager on the game. If Texas wins, Feinstein will send Hutchison a bottle of California wine and a bouquet of yellow roses, and if USC wins, Hutchison will send Feinstein a bottle of Texas wine and a bouquet of red roses. Sound like Feinstein gets the worse end of the deal? Not so, says Chris Paulitz, spokesman for Hutchison. "Only people who don't know wine would say that. There are fine wines made in Texas. When people think about Texas, one of the things they should be thinking about is Texas wine." Both senators claim to be confident about the game's outcome, but in that case, why are they only betting a bottle? Unfiltered urges the two to get serious and up the wager to a case.

• File this under the silliest holiday card of the season. Unfiltered gets plenty of season's greetings from wineries, but the four Buoncristiani brothers, who first made their Napa Cabernet and Syrah in their family garage, really know how to stand out from the pack. In case you're wondering about the marketing angle behind this image, the text of the card reads: "Unknown to most, Buoncristiani wine is what really drives the sleigh."

• We like a happy ending … Montana winery owners Andy Sponseller and Connie Poten believe that when life gives you lemons, turn them into publicity. The owners of Rattlesnake Creek Vineyard, outside Missoula, recently received an e-mail asking them to change their winery's name. Turns out Portteus Winery in Washington has been making a red blend called Rattlesnake Ridge since 1989. So Sponseller held a name-that-winery contest. After mentions in Unfiltered and in newspapers, more than 1,000 entries arrived by e-mail and phone, including Snattle-Rake Creek Vineyards, Sponseller's Cellars, Baroque'n Chain, Cease and Desist Winery, Gossamer Rhino and Snakebit Lawyer. One contestant suggested Gallo Wines, adding, "Why not piss off a really big winery?" Poten, Sponseller and several friends whittled the list down to 10, checked to see if any were trademarked (several were) and chose Ten Spoon Vineyard (a sort of combination of their last names), which they felt was the catchiest. Frederik Kreutzer, chief wine expert for Taster Wine, Denmark's largest wholesaler and distributor, sent in the winning suggestion. Now the Montana duo just has to figure out how to send Kreutzer his prize—a case of Ten Spoon wines every year for life.

Unfiltered

You Might Also Like

Is Ferrari the Fastest Pop on Land and Sea?

Is Ferrari the Fastest Pop on Land and Sea?

The Lunelli family’s Italian sparkling wine house, already a Prada yachting team partner, …

Mar 5, 2021
Wine Ponzi Schemer John Fox Released Early from Prison

Wine Ponzi Schemer John Fox Released Early from Prison

The former owner of bankrupt retailer Premier Cru, who defrauded customers out of millions …

Feb 26, 2021
Getcha Wine and Popcorn Ready: Terrell Owens Introduces Paso Robles Cabernet

Getcha Wine and Popcorn Ready: Terrell Owens Introduces Paso Robles Cabernet

The NFL Hall of Famer makes his wine debut, paying tribute to personal inspirations Tommy …

Feb 26, 2021
Wine, Spirits and Restaurant Industries Step Up for Autism, Black History Month and More

Wine, Spirits and Restaurant Industries Step Up for Autism, Black History Month and More

Passing Time winery raises funds for Dan Marino Foundation, Barefoot pledges $50,000 in …

Feb 25, 2021
Supercentenarians Surviving COVID Pandemic Celebrate Long Lives with Wine

Supercentenarians Surviving COVID Pandemic Celebrate Long Lives with Wine

In France, Sister André celebrates her 117th birthday with foie gras, Port and Champagne, …

Feb 23, 2021
Mt. Etna Eruption Lights Up Sicilian Wine Country

Mt. Etna Eruption Lights Up Sicilian Wine Country

Southern Italy’s famed active volcano spews ash, lava and good luck for Etna vintners

Feb 19, 2021