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What's in a World Series Wine? Astros Championship Brut Is Up to Bat

The MLB champs sprayed Moët but also earned a custom bubbly. Plus, BottleRock brings Counting Crows, Michael Franti and Train on stage for fire-benefit wine-and-song extravaganzas, and we taste an unconventional new Penfolds Grange
Photo by: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Third baseman Colin Moran pops one way up.

Posted: November 2, 2017

The Houston Astros won their first World Series championship last night, the culmination of one of the most exciting MLB postseasons ever. Astros outfielder George Springer led the night off with a double on his way to being named Series MVP (he also hit the fifth of his World Series record-tying five homeruns), and afterward, there was double the sparkling wine for the champs. In the locker room, the Moët & Chandon corks were flying like Yu Darvish fastballs off the Astros' bats. “We are thrilled to be a part of such a historic moment for the Astros’ World Series victory," Moët & Chandon USA vice president Renaud Butel told Unfiltered via email. "Moët & Chandon is all about celebration, and last night’s win was such a wonderful Moët moment.”

Courtesy of MLB / Wine by Design
Houston, we have a championship cuvée.

But Moët wasn't all the Astros were blasting out of the park. Their official Astros 2017 World Series Championship Brut also debuted. Made by Sonoma-based Rack & Riddle winery, in partnership with Wine by Design and Major League Baseball, the Astros Championship Brut is a traditional method California sparkler with Colombard as the dominant grape; it's priced at $25 and will be available at mlb.com/wine. “This wine is truly worthy of champions like the Houston Astros, with fresh fruit aromas of Golden Delicious apple and citrus flower nuanced with tropical notes on the nose," said Rack & Riddle executive director of winemaking Penny Gadd-Coster. "The taste follows through with citrus that livens the palate—begging for another sip or two.” It's been a rough few months for the people of Houston, and we think they deserve a sip or two as well.

BottleRock Brings Robert Mondavi Winery, Michael Franti, Counting Crows, Coppola, Train On Stage for Fire-Benefit Wine-and-Song Extravaganzas

BottleRock, the Napa concert series organizer, is teaming up with Robert Mondavi Winery, and then the Family Coppola and Sonoma State University, to host a pair of concerts "For the Love of Napa" and "For the Love of Sonoma" on the afternoon and evening of Nov. 18. The star act headlining the evening concert will be alt-rockers (and Bay Area locals) Counting Crows. “The spirit of community in wine country is strong, and we are resilient, and it’s times like these when we band together and help rebuild,” said Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s president and director of winemaking, in a statement. All proceeds from the Napa concert will go to the Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, while the Sonoma one will benefit the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and Noma Gives. A rep for Coppola told Unfiltered they hope to raise "a few hundred thousand dollars at least."

Wine and music fans in the North Coast will have a heady day: Doors open at noon for the Napa concert at Robert Mondavi Winery, where bands Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Vintage Trouble, will rock out. Franti "is a Bay Area local, having been raised here, and is by nature a very charitable and kind man. He has played in the Napa Valley many times and feels a connection to the region," Michelle Perry, vice president, fine wine marketing, visitor programs and direct sales for Constellation Brands, told Unfiltered via email. "We will be pouring, among other wines, our Maestro 2014 red blend, which recalls Mr. Mondavi himself—a man who was always the first to lend a helping hand to those most in need."

That night, folk rocker Brett Dennen will open for the Crows at SSU's Green Music Center (the university will also soon be home to the Wine Spectator Learning Center for its Wine Business Institute), with Coppola providing the libations from its line of wines. And if you can't swing the 18th, BottleRock is putting on a third benefit concert Dec. 1 headlined by rocker/vintners Train, last spotted by Unfiltered filming a music video at Shafer.

Since Unfiltered last checked in on fire-relief efforts, distributor Young's Market Company has announced to pledge at least $200,000 to disaster relief, while Vintage Wine Estates (whose properties, including Clos Pegase and B.R. Cohn, were not significantly damaged) set up a charity campaign, Heart of the Vine, that has raised over $285,000, in addition to continuing its breast cancer charity donations from sales of its Purple Cowboy wines.

And if you haven't been following the Golden State Warriors this week, guard Klay Thompson put up 69 points in the past three home games and had pledged $1,000 for each—which is the amount grower Andy Beckstoffer promised to match. Find more information on fire-relief efforts, and how you can donate.

New Penfolds Grange G3 Cuvée: Now with Three Times the Vintages!

Penfolds Grange is one of the world’s most sought-after wines, an icon of Australian Shiraz, blending elegance, power, ageability and notaffordableness. The 1990 was Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1995, the first wine that was not French or American to win the honor.

So what could be better than one Grange? How about three of them all packed into one (750ml) bottle? Enter the new Penfolds G3, a blend of three different vintages of Grange. It includes the 100-point 2008, the 2012 and the 2014, which will be released in its G1 iteration October 2018. Current vintages of Grange retail for $850; the G3 will cost $2,300, so it's kind of a bargain compared to just buying three regular Granges and mixing them together, if you think about it. Alas, only 100 cases were made, of which the United States will get 12 … bottles.

Treasury Wine Estates
Nuthin' but a 'G' thang

Winemaker Peter Gago told Unfiltered that he wanted to tap into the “timelessness” of the Grange reputation, and to make the ultimate blend of blends. “Will it be controversial?” asked Gago. “Grange has always been controversial.” Unfiltered got to taste a sip of it before its release, and we were impressed. For anyone who misses out on G3 version 1, Gago also tipped us off that he's working on a second G3, though he wouldn't reveal what vintages he was working with. Hopefully we’ll have enough time to start saving up, as well as figure out the punch line to the joke, “Three Granges walk into a wine bar …”

More Art-Label Wine to Expand Your Palette

Whether it's wine in art, art on wine, or art made of wine, Unfiltered is ever the connoisseur. This week brings news of an upcoming wine-artist partnership between Germany-based global supermarket Aldi and NYC-based designer Timothy Goodman. The labels adorn Aldi's in-house William Wright wine brand and will be available in Aldi U.S. stores next month. Unfiltered admires the simple utility of a wine that is its own shelf talker.


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