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They're Serving Mouton in Cannes Now

Plus, a Texan happy to have wine on his boots, a Santa Barbara wine label dispute ends amicably enough, and the ups and downs of Brooklyn's Great GoogaMooga

Posted: May 23, 2013

• The Cannes International Film Festival is in full swing, with the annual gathering of screen stars coming to a close this weekend in France. And it wouldn't be Cannes without Mouton Cadet—the ubiquitous Bordeaux value wine has served as the official wine of the festival for the past 22 years and, for the third year in a row, provided the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar on the top-floor terrace of the Palais des Festivals. Special limited-edition bottlings of Mouton Cadet featuring the festival's palm branch logo are being served at the wine bar, which has played host to several press junkets. Blood Ties stars Zoe Saldana, Marion Cotillard and writer-director Guillaume Canet mingled with reporters there earlier this week, as did actor-director James Franco promoting his new film As I Lay Dying. Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern, David Hasselhoff and Will Forte have all stopped by the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar. Sofia Coppola, whose sparkling wine actually does come in cans, paid a visit. Paris Hilton, spokesperson for another canned sparkler, Rich Prosecco, even snagged some face time with Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA managing director Hugues Lechanoine. What they talked about is anyone's guess.

Unfiltered has worn a bit of wine in our day—it's why we have so many purple and red shirts and ties—but those accidental sartorial choices are quite the opposite of Houston businessman T.J. Farnsworth's winewear. "Over the past three years, I have been working with a couple master artists to marry two of my loves—cowboy boots and wine," he wrote via e-mail. You read that right: three years and 200-plus hours of work from artists and leatherworkers to hammer out a pair of shoes. Not your everyday Keds of course: Each boot is etched and painted with the designs of six bottles, and each bottle took a week to complete. Considering that Farnsworth's last bespoke boot project, a collage of favorite spots in his beloved Houston, cost him five figures, these may set him back even more than the labels they sport, including Scarecrow, Corra, Shafer, Schrader, Ovid and Harlan. "I think of wine as an artist’s craft, and these boots are an homage to them," Farnsworth said.

• Just a couple months after opening his second tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara's booming Funk Zone neighborhood, winemaker Seth Kunin is changing the name of Anacapa Vintners to AVA Santa Barbara, effective immediately, as the word Anacapa—which is the name of a nearby channel island as well as a street in town—was already in use by Rusack Winery. "We put a lot of thought into the name of our new venture, and when we opened Anacapa Vintners at the beginning of the year, we were not aware of any conflicts,” said Kunin, who also runs his Kunin Wines tasting room around the corner from the new spot on Anacapa Street. While trying to trademark the name, Kunin found out about Rusack's use, and contacted owner Geoff Rusack about the similarity, thinking that it wouldn't be a problem. Rusack, however, wasn't ready to share the name. “I really like Seth,” said Rusack, “but for 15 years I have exclusively sold wine under the name Anacapa, and I've had a cellar club with over 1,000 members with that name.” Plus, the Anacapa red wine is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, and Rusack sees that trinity reflected in Anacapa Island, which is three separate islets at high tide but one island at low tide. Kunin wasn't ready for a legal fight. “We are a small, family-owned and -run business and do not have the means to defend what we feel is a totally legal and responsible use of the name 'Anacapa Vintners' for our venture,” said Kunin, but he is “greatly relieved” that Rusack is allowing him to continue selling the wines that are already labeled with the current name. Though disappointed, Kunin believes that the new name might be more appropriate anyway for a project that's “all about showcasing the diverse growing regions of Santa Barbara County.” Both parties agreed the issue is being worked out amicably.

As promised, Unfiltered did our best to cover Brooklyn's Great GoogaMooga music, wine and food festival this past weekend. We made the rounds in the wine tent on Saturday, where many of the forward-thinking folks in both the New York and California wine scenes converged. Representing New York wine were John Martini of Anthony Road in the Finger Lakes and the team at Long Island's Paumanok Vineyards, as well as the Gotham Project and Red Hook Winery, bouncing back from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. California mavericks like Dan Petrosky at Massican (originally a local boy, it turns out) and Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope brought their goods—both have gained accolades, notoriety and TTB headaches by growing such odd ducks as Tocai Friulano and Alvarelhão in Cali Cab country. And to round it out, some of the city's best-known somms championed their personal favorites: Paul Greico of the Terroir bars had only Riesling (including a 1990 Schloss Schönborn Spätlese), Carla Rzeszewski at the Breslin showed off a selection of Sherries and Daniel Johnnes, importer and wine director for Daniel Boulud, repped Burgundy. Unfiltered arrived early on Saturday and enjoyed several hours of no lines for the more than 100 local food vendors before the festival really started to fill up. Unfortunately, we arrived early on Sunday as well, joining the hundreds who stood outside in the rain for over an hour waiting to be let in before the festival was officially canceled just after noon, despite the "rain or shine" announcements. Fortunately, much of the unsold food was salvaged, with more than 1 ton of barbecue, chicken, bread and more collected by City Harvest, Food Bank of New York and others for distribution to the needy.

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