"There's so many films out there that cover such dark subjects that I just wanted a film that you can go in to enjoy, and you come out hungry and wanting a nice glass of wine." OK, you've got our attention, Ms. Coppola.
Paris Can Wait is the first narrative feature from award-winning documentarian, Hollywood dynasty matriarch and wine muse Eleanor Coppola. Loosely based on a Frenchman-guided journey to Paris that Coppola herself once took, the film depicts Anne (Diane Lane), agreeing to join the dashing Jacques (Arnaud Viard) on a quick road trip from Cannes to Paris when her big-shot movie mogul husband, played by Alec Baldwin, derails their plans for a romantic getaway. But while Lane's Anne expects to be in Paris by nightfall, Jacques has other plans. What ensues is a two-day adventure, as the mismatched pair eats, drinks and flirts their way through Provence and Burgundy to get to the city of lights.
Aside from coy smiles and arched brows, the film keeps it pretty chaste, for a French flick, but the bounty of art, landscape and #foodporn imagery will certainly leave foodies and Francophiles panting. "I really wanted to show the different aspects of French food, paired with the wines of the regions," Coppola told Unfiltered. She consulted with Maria Helm Sinskey, culinary director at Napa's Robert Sinskey Vineyards, to put together pairings for the on-screen pair, like carré d'agneau (rack of lamb) with Côte-Rôtie reds, red mullet with Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex, and prosciutto and melon with various Châteauneuf-du-Papes. Wine lovers' ears will perk when, in a sudden rush of rare non-amorous passion, poor Jacques reveals his true wine-geekiness to Anne, only to be shut down by her boredom. Even Coppola admits, "I had to cut way back on the esoteric facts he knew about the soil that grew the grapes. I was afraid that the audience would get too crazy bored with it." Mais non!
Brand-new President of France Emmanuel Macron pandered hard to wine-loving voters throughout his 2017 campaign. First, he aced a blind-tasting test and later was spotted partying with red wine—and … asparagus (because voters are sick of politicians promising the same old wine pairings?)—after making it to the runoff of the election. It worked: Macron won the vote of Unfiltered's French delegation and the presidency.
Since then, Unfiltered has been watching closely to see if Macron's campaign rhetoric was all talk, or if he would come through and Make Vin Grand Again. This week, the new administration announced it's bringing on a wine-industry veteran as agricultural adviser. Audrey Bourolleau served as the director of Côtes de Bordeaux from 2010 and 2012, and up until now was commissioner general for Vin & Société, a national trade organization representing 500,000 wine-industry employees. In addition to farming, Bourolleau's bailiwick includes fishing, forests and rural development, and we hope she'll do French vintners and wine lovers proud. Santé!
It's a good thing one of their own has joined the new French Ministry of Agriculture, because winemakers are already clamoring to meet with them! So excited were members of southern France's Syndicat des Vignerons de l'Aude, that they marched right down to the Spanish border, whooped and hollered, blocked traffic, burned tires in the streets … Unfiltered readers know the drill by now.
On May 23, the indefatigable hell-raisers of the Languedoc debuted a new protest tactic: After months of truck-tapping and store-sacking, vignerons tried their hand at toll-trolling. Around 200 winemakers and fellow travelers took to the streets to block traffic from the Spain-to-France direction at tolls in the villages of Boulou and Sigean, according to local paper L'Independent. The protesters milled about, sat on the tarmac, burned tires, held up signs of indignation, shouted proclamations for reformation and also held up traffic for more than four hours.
For readers who haven't been following the saga, Languedoc vintners are facing dire economic times and have trained much of their ire on Spain, which sends bulk wine to be packaged and sold on the cheap in France, undercutting them. The goal of Tuesday's protest was to get Syndicat leader Frédéric Rouanet an audience with the incoming Minister of Agriculture. The chaos ended at around 2:30 p.m. once Rouanet got his assurances that the meeting would be promptly put on the books.
Sister of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and tabloid royalty in her own right Pippa Middleton tied the knot last weekend with fellow subject of the crown James Matthews. The pair tried their best to keep the details mum, but Unfiltered doesn't particularly care whether the best man’s speech was an exceptional disaster (it was), nor even who wore what best. But we commoners demand to know how the happy couple chowed down!
Shortly after the famed couple took their vows, the Telegraph discovered, attendees feasted on an arsenal of dishes as chichi as the guests themselves. Around 20,000 canapés—asparagus spears coated in hollandaise sauce, fresh Norwegian langoustine, muntjac carpaccio infused with mushrooms and, for the groom's refined palate for Scottish delicacies, haggis—lined the buffet. Other tables featured legs of serrano ham, foie gras, Sauternes jams and a Parmigiano cheese wheel—the real star of the night—which undoubtedly paired perfectly with the magnums of Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. Just a warm-up to the evening's libations: English fizz! Sussex winery Nyetimber's Blanc de Noirs 2010 complemented the trout starter, before revelers moved on to non-Anglo red wine with tender lamb and Scottish-themed pudding.
Last week, donors and vintners from Sonoma and Napa gathered at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the fifth-annual Winemakers Dinner, a fund-raising event benefiting the Museum’s American Food and Wine History Project. Sponsored and hosted by California wine eminence grise and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars founder Warren Winiarski, this year’s dinner, “Rooted in Family: Wine and Stories from Mexican-American Winemakers," celebrated Mexican-American winemakers and their past and present contributions to California wine. The five guests of honor were Gustavo Brambila, owner of Gustavo Wine; Amelia Morán Ceja, owner of Ceja Vineyards; Rolando Herrera, proprietor of Mi Sueño Winery; Hugo Maldonado, owner of Maldonado Vineyards; and Lazaro Robledo, tasting room manager of Robledo Family Vineyards.
Winiarski himself donated $50,000 to the event and praised the entrepreneurial spirit of the winemakers in attendance, telling Unfiltered, “It’s important that we see these folks have support within the country, and they are able to make the ascent if they have the ability. It was very heartwarming to hear this American dream being realized by each of these families," he said. "It takes listening, it takes observing, it takes attention, and if you’re doing it merely as a job, it’s not going to work. You have to give it your heart.”
Ceja, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1967 as a child, reflected on the honor. “We started working in the vineyards as children, and now we are making world-class wines," she told Unfiltered. "For our brand to be showcased in one of the most respected institutions in the world, I nearly had to pinch myself. It shows that my adopted country is still the land of opportunity …. For me, I’m the voice of those unsung heroes, of the invisible workers that contribute so much, because that’s how I started.”
Some of the winemakers stayed in D.C. for a Congressional Wine Caucus event on Capitol Hill the following day, held by California Rep. Mike Thompson and featuring a tasting that included Mi Sueño Winery and Ceja Vineyards. “[Thompson] said that he recognized how this multibillion-dollar industry is thanks to the hard work of so many immigrants," said Ceja, "and he is so proud that now those same immigrants are changing the landscape of the wine industry.”
Before this year, it seemed wine didn't get much airtime, at least in the form of commercial campaigns, but Yellow Tail broke through in a big way with its infamous Super Bowl "Touch my Roo" spot. Now comes word that the Coravin wine-pouring and -preservation device is placing 60- and 120-second ads with lifestyle networks like Food Network and Bravo TV, part of a national advertising campaign encouraging more casual drinkers to use the product at home. “The Yellow Tail ad did not enter into our decision to launch this campaign,” Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht told Unfiltered via email. “It simply was the right time for us to invest in building brand awareness for Coravin."
That's right: Unfiltered's got back-to-back Baldwin coverage this week, thanks to LymeAid, a benefit dinner, auction and concert hosted by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation on Sunday night. Not one to shy away from a wine-soaked soirée, Alec Baldwin was a model master of ceremonies, keeping the crowd laughing, but also talking about his personal experience with the disease. He shared the spotlight with Grammy winner Kenny Loggins—who entertained the crowd with a rousing rendition of "Footloose"—and three Sonoma County wine labels who pitched in for the cause. Benovia Winery packed its Tilton Hill Pinot Noir 2014 and La Pommeraie Chardonnay 2014 into auction winners' gift bags, while McEvoy Ranch poured the Evening Standard Pinot Noir 2012 and a 2016 Marsanne-Roussanne-Viognier blend for the 320 dinner guests. Benovia also teamed up with Seghesio Family Vineyards to put together a joint auction lot—including VIP tours, tastings and a night's stay in Benovia's cottages for two couples—earning $10,000 of the total $850,000 raised during the event for lyme disease research.
Also in the giving spirit: Banfi Wines, which is kicking off its fifth-annual charity program with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). On Memorial Day weekend (May 26–29), Banfi will donate all proceeds from sales of Riunite Lambrusco to TAPS, a foundation that provides support to those affected by a death in the U.S. Armed Forces. Following Memorial Day through July 4, they're keeping the red, white and bubbly momentum going by donating $1 from each Riunite Lambrusco sale to the foundation. Last year, the partnership brought in $1 million in donations, and Banfi has high hopes for another successful year.
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