Twin brothers Charlie and Michael Kalish, better known as the "Cheese Twins," took a break from their careers as cheese-industry consultants this summer to compete on season 7 of the Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. Their Grilled-Cheese All-Stars truck ended up winning the competition last month. The twins have been appearing at food and wine festivals and events, conducting wine-and-cheese–pairing seminars through their work with Meiomi Wines, and they’ve also been filming their own new Food Network show, Big Cheese, which premiered last month. The two weren't always such media darlings, of course. Michael's first agricultural careers were as a commercial beekeeper and working wine harvests; he then learned meat curing in Piedmont before turning his attention full-time to cheese. Both brothers worked with esteemed affineur Hervé Mons in France, and Charlie went on from there to work at Cellars of Jasper Hill in Vermont. But food was always in their blood: Their mother has worked with many San Francisco Bay Area restaurants.
In the first episode of Big Cheese, the twins go on a cheesy culinary spin through Los Angeles, stopping for a slice of mac-and-cheese pizza at Pizzanista, an over-the-top grilled cheese at Beer Belly and some cacio e pepe at Forma. Unfiltered caught up with them in New York last week as they were pairing Meiomi Chardonnay 2014 and Pinot Noir 2015 with an array of grilled-cheese sandwiches, including Marieke young Gouda with Creminelli prosciutto, Jasper Hill's Cabot clothbound cheddar with turkey and and Upland Cheese's Pleasant Ridge Reserve with lardons and mushrooms. It's not always Central Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the Cheese Twins, though. “I’m a sucker for fortified wines,” Charlie told us as he used an enormous wedge of Cabot cheddar to press a grilled cheese. Michael, true to the twins' California roots, has a soft spot for Zinfandel. If you ask Unfiltered, we'd say it's pretty hard to go wrong when you're pairing wine with grilled cheese.
Fans of Bordeaux first-growth Château Mouton-Rothschild know that Mouton ne change ("Mouton does not change"), and when the leaves have turned color, it’s a signal for the Rothschild family to reveal their latest label, designed every year since 1945 by a different artist. Yesterday, Rothschild siblings Camille Sereys de Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais, revealed they had chosen English painter and longtime California resident David Hockney for the 2014 label. Baroness Philippine died in 2014, and this label is a tribute to their late mother, who was a close friend of Hockney's.
Hockney, known for his talent with flamboyant colors and classical precision as well as a wide range of mediums and techniques, from acrylics to Polaroid photographs to the iPad, uses a vibrant blue and contrasting red image of two wineglasses in his Mouton label homage, signed “in tribute to Philippine.” The Rothschild siblings say the painting is “haloed by vibrant lines of force, signifying both emotion and wonder, two glasses, one empty, the other full, tell the story of feverish expectation and the constantly renewed miracle of the birth of great wine.”
Hockney has a major retrospective next year in Paris, London and New York. This painting, along with the other works of art used for the Mouton labels, can be seen at the estate as part of a permanent display in a space created by the late Baroness. As per custom, Hockney was compensated in wine, vintages of his choice as well as the potentially classic 2014 Château Mouton-Rothschild, which benefited from an exceptionally long summer.
Lights! Camera! Wine! The sixth-annual Napa Valley Film Festival takes place this week, Nov. 9–13. An expected 50,000 festival attendees will descend upon the Northern California towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Each town has its own box office, multiple screening venues, a wine pavilion and special events, including three Terlato Family–sponsored wine seminars on the Napa Riverfront presented by Wine Spectator's very own senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec on pairing wine and popcorn, wine blending and ageability.
The festival will show 120 films on 13 screens, with 300 filmmakers, 150 wineries and 50 chefs participating. Hollywood types expected to show include rumored Billionaire's Vinegar star Matthew McConaughey, Aaron Eckhart, Dev Patel, Lee Daniels and Viggo Mortensen, to name just a few. Also showing up will be Kurt Russell, who knows his way both on screen and in the vineyards, as he is part owner of GoGi Wines from Sta. Rita Hills. It’s not just the big screen on display. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the creators and producers behind Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, will participate in a panel about the show’s anticipated revival on Netflix. There's also a wine documentary called Decanted that will premiere, as well as one called called Pisco Punch: A Cocktail Comeback Story, which will be featured on the festival's closing night.
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