Jun 21, 2006
• For more than a decade, Cristal has been a must-have accessory for clubgoers, but that era may be coming to an end. Rapper Jay-Z, president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, has called for the hip-hop community to boycott Cristal, the granddaddy of prestige Champagnes. Like many hip-hop feuds, this one stems from dissing in the media. Louis Roederer president Frédéric Rouzaud told the Economist recently that his company viewed the popularity of its Cristal cuvée in hip-hop circles with "curiousity and serenity." Retailing for $200, it's been a mainstay of hip-hop since at least 1996, when Jay-Z mentioned it in "Can't Knock The Hustle." When the Economist reporter asked Rouzaud if that could hurt the brand, Rouzaud replied, "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business." That section of the story was titled "Unwelcome Attention." Jay-Z dubbed the comments racist and announced he would replace Cristal with Dom and Krug at 40/40, his chain of upscale sports lounges. Rouzaud quickly issued a statement pointing out that he never used the phrase "unwelcome attention" and insisting that Roederer "could not have been in existence since 1776 without having the utmost regard for, and interest in, all forms of art and culture." In the hope of preventing a full East Coast-Reims rivalry, Unfiltered would like to invite Jay-Z and Rouzaud back to our crib to sit down together, talk peace and end this before someone gets hurt.
|Jennifer Janesko art on a wine label: Top that Mouton!|| |
• Full-bodied is a fine compliment for a wine. Ditto that when describing a pinup girl. What do you get when you put the two together? Haut Art Wines' new artists series labels, featuring exclusive art from pinup artist Jennifer Janesko
. The wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown at the Seabiscuit Ranch in Mendocino County's Redwood Valley, and Janesko says she created the images to reflect the wine's attributes. "The most important thing before I start creating a piece for this wine label series is to be familiar with the wine, know the variety of the wine and try to translate that sensation in a visual way," she says. Hence the image that graces the initial release. The Signature Reserve Series, of which 333 bottles were released, sells for $125 and comes with a signed, limited-edition print. The Limited Selection Series totals 2,400 bottles and retails for a more modest $25. Eventually, nine different Janesko images will grace the line. "My pinup style is pretty distinctive," says Janesko. The images may be a little top-heavy, but here's hoping the wine is well-rounded.
|The queen sipped wine of the elite as well as wine for everyone at her birthday bash. Jolly good!|| |
• The Queen of England
's 80th birthday was celebrated in places as far away as New Zealand--at least at one winery. For months leading up to Queen Elizabeth's birthday bash, a BBC reality TV show was whittling down chefs and their dishes in a competition to determine what would be served at the lavish, four-course lunch hosted by the Lord Mayor of London
and attended by 350 guests. Behind the scenes, though, the Lord Mayor's Office was at work selecting the wines. Nicholas Buck
, sales and marketing director for New Zealand winery Te Mata in Hawkes Bay, was approached by a rep from the mayor's office in May at the London Wine Trade Fair. "[They] came and saw me and said you have two wines that look likely to match the final dishes, and that's Woodthorpe Chardonnay 2004
and Woodthorpe Viognier 2004
," said Buck. When the final menu was chosen, Buck was contacted again and asked to send 15 cases of the Chardonnay. The wine was paired with two dishes, while the other two courses were paired with Chateau Margaux
1983 and Mount Horrocks
Riesling 2005 from Clare Valley in Australia. If you want to toast the queen, the Margaux will run you about $500, but at least the Te Mata Chardonnay is available at U.S. retailers for about $18. So we can all drink like royalty.
|Magrez will only sell you his wine, but at least he makes it just about everywhere.|| |
• These days wine boutiques are all the rage. While the vast liquor store with a wide array of wines still has its place, there are now shops that carry only organic wines or bottlings from a single country. But selling wine from just one producer? Who would dare? Ironically, the same man who first sold mass-produced Bordeaux at supermarkets throughout France. Bernard Magrez
, former owner of William Pitters négociant, began his career marketing wines, including those produced by actor Gerard Depardieu
, before he began buying his own properties and hiring big-shot consultant Michel Rolland
. Recently Magrez opened a boutique wine shop in Paris, just steps away from Avenue de l'Opéra, that features two Baccarat crystal chandeliers and shelves of exotic wood, combining French flair with more international taste--the same thing Magrez aims to do with his wines. The store sells 110 selections sourced from Magrez's 32 properties, which are located in such diverse regions as Spain, Portugal, Chile, Uruguay, Napa Valley, the Languedoc region of southern France and, of course, Bordeaux, where he owns 20 properties, including the 700-year-old Château Pape-Clément. If Magrez has his way, in the future people won't be shopping for a Bordeaux or a Cabernet, but rather a "Magrez."