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Sweet Berry Wine! Comedian Eric Wareheim Stands Up for Carignan

We caught up with the actor as the last of his 2017 Las Jaras wine grapes were arriving on the crushpad. Also in Unfiltered, Prosecco takes flight with Delta, and a stolen wine stash found in parents' basement
Photo by: Branden Hamby
Eric Wareheim (R) and Joel Burt aren't here to make "a joke wine."

Posted: October 19, 2017

Usually when celebrities show up at a restaurant, sommeliers expect to present tables with top-flight Bordeauxs and Champagnes with a flourish. But for comedian Eric Wareheim, "every bartender and every waiter would come up to me, and any wine I would order, would say, 'Here's your sweet berry wine!'" The reference is to a 2008 sketch on Wareheim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, in which a "news" show cuts to correspondent Dr. Steve Brule (played by John C. Reilly) in "wine country," purportedly there to teach viewers about wine tasting. When the hosts inquire what kind of wine Brule is drinking, the purple-smeared correspondent slurs, "Sweet berry wine!" and the segment goes sideways from there.

Instead of growing exasperated at having his show quoted to him, Wareheim figured, "What if we made a wine, but what if [winemaker friend] Joel [Burt] made it, and made it amazing!" he told Unfiltered. Three years later, Wareheim, whose most prominent day job is playing Arnold opposite Aziz Ansari on Netflix series Master of None, and Burt, whose day job is making wine for Chandon, have released not just one wine but four. Their Las Jaras ("haras") label launched to the public last week with a Sonoma Mountain Cabernet, a Mendocino Carignan, a Mendocino rosé and Sweet Berry Wine (the berry is also Carignan, in this case, and the wine is dry).

Unfiltered caught up with the pair while they were at the winery, on the day they were bringing in their last fruit of the 2017 harvest, Charbono, for which they plan to do a two-week carbonic maceration.

Wareheim credits longtime friend Burt with helping get him into wine and turning him on to the natural wine movement: A recommendation to detour from Paris to Château-Chalon in the Jura region was an early revelation. "And then I kind of became a wine snob, and I would constantly send pictures of wines to Joel. I'd send him a [picture] of a big bottle of Chianti or something and [write], 'This is the best wine I've ever had!' And he's like, 'OK, but you're probably not going to love that next year,' and he was right. I gravitated toward more subtle wines, fresher wines."

Next up, Wareheim and Burt will be auctioning off bottles of Sweet Berry Wine signed by Dr. Steve Brule himself to raise money for victims of the California wildfires. (Drew Bledsoe is another celebrity/vintner supporting the cause; see our updating list of wineries and other businesses making donations.) But what does the real "Dr. Steve Brule" think of the real Sweet Berry Wine? "We sent the wine to John, and I knew his style because I travel with him a lot in Europe, and he just was blown away by the Carignan, he just loved it, freaked out for it." A more persuasive testimonial than the fictional Steve Brule's verdict: "It tastes like fruit!"

Score! Booze Found in Parents' Basement (Where Latest Alleged Winecriminal Stashed It)

Usually kids sneak into their parents' basements to steal alcohol, but our latest winecriminal put a twist on the trick: A truck driver was arrested for allegedly stealing wine from his tanker and then stashing it—thousands of liters of it—in the basement of his parents' Carcassonne, France, home.

L’Independent reported that the police became aware of the situation when they responded to a call over an argument between two men in front of a 28,000-liter wine tanker, which was connected to a basement of a nearby garage with a hose. One of the men, thought to be an employee for the tanker company in Montredon-des-Corbières, confronted the driver, perhaps because it seemed like quite a coincidence that the intended destination of the wine happened to be his family's residence.

The police confiscated almost 3,000 liters of wine aging in 20-liter buckets in the basement, plus 100 buckets hidden under a tarp on the back of the truck. While Unfiltered always suspected much of the wine chicanery going on in the south of France to be the work of disaffected teenage malcontents living in their parents' basements, the alleged thief, is, in fact, reported to be a young-at-heart 52 years old.

Delta Takes Prosecco Airborne

In the latest example of wine on planes taking off, Delta has added mini bottles of Avissi Prosecco to its lineup of complimentary libations in the main cabin (with the purchase of one international flight).

“We’re delighted that Delta has chosen to offer Avissi Prosecco to all its customers on board," Jennifer Hohman, senior marketing manager for Avissi, told Unfiltered via email. To celebrate flying domestic, economy-class passengers will still have to pony up $9, though.

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