Unfiltered

Sir Alex Ferguson keeps quiet about his celebratory wine, eating dinner above the little people, MTV goes to a winery, and a pen for those who love Lafite just a little too much
May 16, 2007

It's tradition in European soccer that after a well-played match, the managers of each side share a bottle of wine. After AC Milan defeated Manchester United in this year's Champions League semifinal match, Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti gave Man U boss Sir Alex Ferguson what he described to the BBC as "a magnificent bottle of wine." And Ferguson would know--he's known to buy and sell collectible wines for profit and is a well-known connoisseur. As to the identity of the "magnificent wine," both soccer clubs are remaining tight-lipped (Ferguson has said he will not open the bottle until Ancelotti is lifting the Champions Cup--AC Milan plays Sir Alex's rival Liverpool in the final next week). Unfiltered suspects another reason they might be keeping mum: When Chelsea manager José Mourinho gave Ferguson a bottle of Casa Ferreirinha Douro Barca-Velha 1964 last year, Danny Cameron, chairman of England's Association of Portuguese Wine Importers, told the Guardian that the gift "generated more wine PR than we managed in the whole of Euro 2004," when Europe's quadrennial soccer championship was held in Portugal. Unfiltered is currently scheming to have Sir Alex photographed reading a copy of Wine Spectator.

 
If you accidentally drop your fork, do you have to bungee jump down to get it?
• Care to hang around for dinner? Be careful what you wish for. Brussels-based company Dinner in the Sky is offering diners heavenly dinners by dangling their table a couple hundred feet in the air from a very large crane. The concept started serving last year, and is based on an idea by Belgian chef Quentin Jadoul of Le Fruit de Ma Passion, and produced in partnership with Benji Fun, a company that seems to like connecting strange things to very large cranes. According to Dinner in the Sky organizer David Ghysels, clients can exercise many options before being strapped into the swinging seats. "The food served is various and depends on client will. It could be a seafood plate with Champagne, or a sushi festival or tapas fiesta," he said. "We even had Hungarian food prepared and served by a very famous Hungarian chef." Ghysels added that dinner in the sky is mobile, serving its pendulum provisions across Europe, with prices starting around $10,700, not including food and drink. While it's certainly great to see someone thinking outside the restaurant, Unfiltered still prefers its wine to swirl--not the table. What we really want to know is what happens if you need to get up to use the bathroom?

 
"Like, ohmigod, the challenge at the Jell-O factory was so much easier!"
• As anyone who has worked in a winery knows, turning grapes into wine is no easy task--in fact, it's downright hard labor. But what if you had to do the job in a tiny swimsuit for a television audience of millions? That was the challenge recently facing contestants on MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno 3, set in South Africa, in which contestants culled from the network's reality shows compete in absurd athletic events for cash and prizes. Last week, the cast found themselves at the Lawrenceford Estate in Somerset West, tasked with pressing grapes and transferring the resultant juice, with their mouths, to a series of glass bottles across the room. Writes cast member Tonya Cooley on the show's blog, "Do you know what it feels like to have grape juice squirt through your nostrils? Not cool at all." Though the women's swimsuits were relatively modest, the mens' briefs left so little to the imagination that three men chose to forfeit the event rather than give MTV viewers an eyeful of their grape-stomping physiques. And Unfiltered thanks them for that.

• A year after they last convened, visionaries of wine, food, and the arts got together at Copia in Napa May 6-8 for the second annual Taste3, a somewhat head-scratching yet popular multidisciplinary conference sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Winery. Among those speaking and sharing ideas over the course of the two days were vintner Randall Grahm, spoken-word artist Rives, author Harold McGee, Eleanor Coppola, the music group String Theory and restaurateur Dan Barber. There were even experts on bees, mushrooms, design, blogs and pleasure. The theme of sustainability ran through this meeting of the minds, which ended with a celebration at the Robert Mondavi Winery. There the 94-year-old Mondavi was on hand to greet attendees as best he could from his wheelchair. His wife Margrit spoke to the crowd for him, lamenting that "There's no cure for old age," but still, he "especially likes the kisses from beautiful ladies." We hope he got several over the course of the evening.

 
If the ink smells like Brettanomyces, can you return the pen?
• We here at Unfiltered, being a tech-savvy sort, rarely lift our fingers from our keyboards … except of course, to raise our glasses. But when we must jot down a tasting note longhand, it'd be nice to reach for something like this: The Limited Edition Château Lafite Rothschild Fountain Pen, the happy result of a joint venture between Italian pen maker Omas (part of LVMH) and Château Lafite Rothschild. The oversized oak casing is fashioned from used Lafite casks and comes equipped with a stylish 18-karat white gold nib engraved with the Lafite logo. Made in a limited edition run of 1,000, the fountain pen costs $1,650 and is available through Kenro Industries. If that seems too extravagant for you, not to worry, a roller-ball version costs a mere $1,450. Unfortunately, the piston filling system doesn't convert regular ink into actual Lafite, as we'd hoped.

Unfiltered

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