Unfiltered

Kirsten Dunst gets decadent with Champagne, the Mets celebrate with cava, Brian Wilson has fun with Napa Cabernet, and models sip Rioja

Sep 20, 2006

• Never mind $200,000 cars, multimillion-dollar mansions and designer frocks. To feel decadent, just drink a flute of Champagne a day. At least that was Kirsten Dunst's strategy while preparing for her starring roll in Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola's forthcoming biopic on the 19 years the controversial and outrageously lavish Queen of France spent in Versailles. When asked how the film influenced her daily life, Dunst, according to Us Weekly, remarked, "I would always have a glass of Champagne before I went to bed, which I would normally never do ... I tried to be decadent." (On screen, Dunst as Marie Antoinette frequently has a glass of Champagne in her hand.) While there's no word on the 24-year-old actress' Champagne of choice, Unfiltered can certainly speculate. Perhaps, in a nod to her director, Dunst drank Sofia Mini--the cute canned blanc de blancs sparkling wine from California made by Coppola's father. That's our bet, because it comes with a fun little straw perfect for sipping bubbly in bed without spilling on the sheets.

• The Mets win the division! The Mets win the division! Break open the ... cava? The New York Mets clinched the National League East division title Monday night, and celebrated in style, donning goggles and spraying bubbly all over each other, their owner and anyone else in range. This is the first division title since 1988 for the boys from Queens, and now they're bound for their first playoff appearance since 2000. So why not let loose? Tuesday's front page of the New York Post (always the source for punful headlines) declared "Champ-agne!" Problem is, the Mets opted for cava over Champagne, spraying 280 bottles of Freixenet Brut Cava Cordon Negro NV around their plastic-covered clubhouse. A spokesman for the team said they chose the Spanish sparkler "because of its quality and good price." After all, it is a Wine Spectator Best Buy. Still, several members of the squad have a reputation for being wine lovers, and we bet they opened some even better wines later.

• Just as NFL teams rarely axe coaches midseason, wineries rarely fire winemakers during harvest. So Unfiltered wonders about the decision last month by Malulani Investments Ltd., the owners of Langtry Estate & Vineyards (formerly known as Guenoc), to fire the senior production staff--winemaker Bob Broman and assistant winemaker Mike Wood--one week after the start of harvest. Broman was admittedly blindsided. "In my 30 years in the business, I've never seen anything like this," he said. "They came in the morning of [Aug.] 31, put envelopes on our desks, chatted for a moment and said the board of directors decided to do this. There had been no prior discussions." Broman, the winemaker and owner of Broman Cellars in St. Helena, added that the national sales manager and two of the four outside sales staff were also canned, another curious twist given the approaching holiday season. And winery president Roy Cecchetti subsequently resigned after being told that the Malulani directors were going in "another direction." Easton Manson, president of Malulani, told Unfiltered that the directors wanted a winemaker who's focused exclusively on Langtry Estate, so they hired Paul Brasset, formerly of Pezzi King and Roshambo, to take over.

• We're pickin' up "Good Vibrations." They were coming from the 12th annual Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health, where Beach Boy Brian Wilson was rocking a two-hour concert at which we're certain everyone had "Fun, Fun, Fun." More than 500 "Surfer Girl"s and guys attended the Sept. 18 event at Staglin Family Vineyard, hosted by Shari and Garen Staglin, who "Get Around" to raising lots of money for causes related to mental health. (This year's $3.8 million brings the total they've raised to nearly $32 million). Daniel Weinberger, M.D., of George Washington University and the National Institute of Mental Health spoke at the event about some cutting-edge discoveries on genetic predispositions for mental disorders. Wilson, who cowrote many of the Beach Boys' greatest hits, has long suffered from depression--one of the afflictions the Staglins are raising money to combat. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" if the Staglins' help leads to groundbreaking treatment? "Don't Worry, Baby," we're optimistic.

• Moët may have had its private little lounge at Olympus Fashion Week in New York, but Wines of Spain made sure that everyone else in attendance was feeling just as fabulous. Each night of the weeklong fashionista fest, colorfully clad models were pretty much everywhere, serving a range of Riojas to people waiting for shows to start. The wines were also being served in several of the backstage VIP lounges (which, it turns out, are tiny velvet-roped-off areas inside the main velvet-roped-off area), where Unfiltered was able to sample several of the Riojas. Celebrities seen in and around the backstage area included Diddy, Food Network's Dave Lieberman and fashion icon Patrick MacDonald. Earlier in the week, Courteney Cox reportedly enjoyed the Rioja so much she asked for a bottle of her own to take home. The only not-so-fabulous moment came when Unfiltered was tasting the wines while sitting on a couch in the W Hotel's lounge: A clipboard Nazi tried to kick out Unfiltered and other wine sippers to make way for singer Eve and her posse. But the winos stood--well, sat--their ground while the clipboard Nazi sulked. That Rioja is powerful stuff.

• Wine may have a close connection to certain religions, but when it comes to federal regulations, the U.S. government apparently insists on the separation of church and slate. Oregon vintner Stephen Reustle, owner of Prayer Rock Vineyard and a devout Christian, printed a Bible verse on about 6,000 corks and squeezed them into bottles of his Pinot Noir, Syrah and Riesling. Taking the idea from Dobbes Family Estate's use of a cork quote from Mahatma Gandhi, Reustle said, he emblazoned his 2006 stoppers with Ecclesiastes 9:7: "Drink your wine with a happy heart, God approves of this." It wasn't long before Reustle received a letter from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, stating, "You may not make misleading curative or therapeutic claims on labels, or create misleading associations between the consumption of alcohol and health." The TTB also ordered Reustle to remove references to Old Testament locations to denote separate vineyards, such as his Pinot Noir Pishon block. (Pishon is a river in the Garden of Eden, for those of us who skipped Sunday school.) Nonetheless, Reustle won a "use-up" order from the TTB, and can sell the remaining wines bottled with the scripture as long as he doesn't do it again.

Unfiltered

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