Log In / Join Now

Pelé Scores with Soccer's New Sparkler

Plus, Ménage à Trois wines pair up with a sexy new drama, and Mike Ditka pours his wines and hits the tees for charity

Posted: August 8, 2013

• Last week, Brazilian soccer icon Pelé kicked off the official relaunch of the New York Cosmos, a soccer team that gained international fame in the 1970s for, well, having Pelé, but folded in 1985. At the gala in Manhattan's Gotham Hall, Unfiltered was on hand because the Cosmos opted not to splash the pink vodka drink of the same name beloved of soccer fans worldwide, but rather international soccer federation FIFA's newest teammate, Taittinger, along with Alta Vista's Malbec and Chardonnay. It's of a piece with Taittinger's bid to become the Champagne of soccer: The house recently announced its role as the first-ever official Champagne of FIFA, to be poured in the VIP boxes at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup. At the Cosmos gala, Pelé recounted the reaction to his decision to suit up in 1975: "'Why do you want to play football in the U.S.? People there only play with their hands.'" He went on, "Today I revive my history. Today, everybody knows that U.S. soccer is on the level with the rest of the world." But guests weren't just there to welcome back the Cosmos. The fete benefited Help USA, the largest provider of homes and services to the homeless in the country, including helping war vets, domestic violence victims and AIDS sufferers find jobs. Another program Help runs is Street Soccer, which connects mentors with the homeless through soccer. Maria Cuomo Cole, chairman of Help (and sister of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo), thanked him, saying, "It was a really life-changing memory for our kids to be onstage with you, Pelé." As for the Cosmos, they won their first game in 29 years on Saturday, 2-1 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, meanwhile, recalled in a press release his love of soccer dating back to the 1959 European Cup (now Champions' League) finals, when hometown heroes Stade de Reims lost to Real Madrid. With Taittinger on board, what better time than now for Reims to challenge for a rematch?

• As confirmed by a recent Gallup poll, Americans love wine. Unfiltered can also confirm, via personal experience, that Americans love TV. And if Game of Thrones, The Tudors and The Borgias have taught us anything, it's that we really love TV-MA programming full of misbehaving royalty, swordplay and sex. So the new British series The White Queen, a sordid piece of historical fiction based on The Cousins' War novel series by Philippa Gregory that uses the War of the Roses as a backdrop, should do just fine. The series makes its American premiere on Starz on Aug. 10, and just in case you needed some extra incentive to spend your Saturday night at home in front of the telly, the producers of the show are partnering with Ménage à Trois wines to entice viewers to pair their thirst for sex and violence with a nice glass of wine. “As a seductive wine, Ménage à Trois wines are a perfect fit to watch The White Queen,” said Ménage à Trois marketing director Tim Peters in a press release. The California wine brand will be hosting a "Twitter party" during the premiere (#whitevsred), and fans of the wine and the show can win a trip to be "treated like royalty" in Napa through the Ménage à Trois Facebook page.

• As is so often found at the intersection of golf and football, there was plenty of wine on hand at last month's Chicago Lighthouse Mike Ditka Charity Golf Tournament at former U.S. Open host North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill. They were Mike Ditka Wines, to be more specific, which sponsored the event's third hole and were also poured in the clubhouse after the tournament, where guests toasted with the former Pro Bowl tight end and Super Bowl champion coach for the Chicago Bears who now works as an analyst for ESPN. Ditka Wines underwent a rebranding last year when it became part of the Terlato family of wines, and it now features a lineup of eight wines priced at $15 to $50, including a Napa Cabernet and Merlot. The first annual golf tournament raised more than $90,000 for the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, with half of the net proceeds earmarked for Glenview's local Lighthouse North.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.