Unfiltered

Pats fans blame Gisele's wine for their team's loss, a case of exaggerated identity, wine stains on the walls, and the new French paradox
Feb 20, 2008

• It wasn't the New York Giants' upset victory over the undefeated New England Patriots that caught our attention at Super Bowl XLII—it was a shot of Tom Brady's girlfriend, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, drinking red wine in her sky box. As reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, an image of Bündchen with a glass in her hand drew ire from fans and sports commentators, who recoiled at the fact that the quarterback's lady wouldn't deign to drink beer at the game. Some even insinuated that it was Bündchen and her wine that caused New England's loss. Unfiltered commends Bündchen for her choice of beverage, especially since marketing research suggests that Pats fans love to drink and read about wine. Furthermore, it seems she isn't the only one enjoying wine at sporting events. "We have significant wine lists at multiple arenas," said Bob Pascal, corporate vice president of marketing for Centerplate Inc., which caters the Super Bowl and other sports venues nationwide. Wine isn't just for the sky boxes and special seating areas, either. According to Pascal, the only thing holding arenas back from offering wine to general-seating customers is the lack of a good, non-glass container in which to serve it. Though Centerplate brass may not approve, we recommend the Wine Rack.

 
Also, there's no unicorn in Robert Irvine's house, which is not built out of chocolate and rainbows.
• We all know that the Food Network has long been trying to shift programming away from shows featuring real chefs. Case in point: the recent cancellations of Mario Batali's and Emeril Lagasse's shows in favor of 32 hours a day of Rachael Ray. But we were a little surprised to hear that they'd ventured into more heavily-scripted territory. An article in the St. Petersburg Times over the weekend alleged that Robert Irvine, star of the Dinner: Impossible series, may be a little more (literary fabulist) James Frey than (principled chef) Thomas Keller. Irvine had been planning to open a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla., which is now months behind schedule. According to the Times, he's being sued by his interior designer for breach of contract and owes his web consultant thousands of dollars. The Times investigated details that Irvine had included in his online biography (since removed from his personal website and that of the Food Network) and his 2007 cookbook/memoir, and concluded that some of the claims were inaccurate. Irvine claimed to hold a Bachelor's degree in food and nutrition from the University of Leeds (the university denies it), and that he decorated Princess Diana's wedding cake while in the British Navy (the chef in charge of the cake says it's not true). As of now, the Food Network has only said, via press release: "It's unfortunate if Robert embellished the extent of his culinary experiences. We are investigating the matter and taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of all representations of Robert on Food Network and foodnetwork.com." Should they plan a televised dressing-down of Irvine, á la Mr. Frey, we nominate Emeril for the Oprah Winfrey role.

 
The art is visually papery, with hints of ink and glass.
• There are quite a few psychiatrists' offices on Manhattan's Upper West Side, so visitors to Bar Boulud, chef Daniel Boulud's new wine bar located in that neighborhood, could be forgiven for thinking they're being subjected to a Rorschach inkblot test when they check out the art on the walls. What they're actually seeing are high-resolution photographs of red wine stains on tablecloths, created by artist Vik Muniz, himself a wine lover who often works with non-traditional materials. Muniz and Boulud, friends who initially bonded over a love of wine, held a series of small parties in the artist's Brooklyn studio and, after emptying the better part of a number of bottles, Muniz would "paint" with the dregs. As for the inspiration, Boulud quipped, "A wine stain on the tablecloth means that it was a good party." And because even Wine Spectator's own tasting panel might have trouble identifying the selections by the way they stain a tablecloth, the glass frame around each piece is faintly etched with the name and vintage of the corresponding wines, which include Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1964, Château Cheval-Blanc 1947 and Château Latour 1961.

• Remember the old joke? A guy asks his cab driver how to get to Carnegie Hall, and the cabbie replies, "Practice, practice, practice." Last weekend, the members of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony—who have been invited to perform at New York's Carnegie Hall this June—put on a fund-raiser at Yountville's Lincoln Center to help them get to the famous venue. The event, entitled "Serenade to Youth," featured some Napa fund-raising staples: live and silent auctions, good wines and foods from local restaurants like Celadon, La Toque and FARM at the Carneros Inn. The Youth Symphony performed, along with Napa Festival Orchestra and 16 opera stars. The live auction highlight was a barrel of 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Silver Oak's Daniel Baron, which went for $22,000—a veritable bargain, as a barrel holds nearly 300 bottles, which retail for $100 each. Also a bargain: a private tasting at Harlan, including dinner, massages and two nights at Meadowood, all for $2,400, about the price you'll pay for a bottle of Harlan on a restaurant wine list.

• How do you say "shooting yourself in the foot" in French? For years now, French vignerons and wine producers, particularly the smaller ones, have been suffering financially as domestic wine consumption has steadily declined. A major reason for the decline is that young people in France don't drink wine like their parents did. So what's the wrong way for the government to help the industry out? Make it impossible to advertise on the Internet. Last week, a French appeals court sustained a ruling ordering Heineken to remove all advertising for beer from its French website. Alcohol advertising is strictly regulated by the 1991 Evin law, which regulates where ads can appear and forbids alcohol ads from implying that wine, beer or spirits leads to fun or the good life. How un-French sounding. Since neither the original law nor a 2005 revision mention the Internet, the court ruled, no alcohol ads are allowed on French websites. To think, less than a century after Prohibition, American wine consumption is rising dramatically and French authorities are treating wine like a taboo subject. Quelle dommage.

Unfiltered

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