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Winemaking L.A. Kings Broadcaster's Stanley Cup Runneth Over

Plus, Vincent van Gogh goes to Canadian wine country, the Chicago Cubs get their own World Series sparkler, and more
Photo by: Courtesy of Patiné
L.A. Kings announcer Jim Fox has a second career making California Pinot Noir.

Posted: November 17, 2016

When TV analyst Jim Fox isn’t in the broadcast booth calling games for the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, he's busy learning about wine. The former hockey player–turned–color commentator added vintner to his résumé when he cofounded Patiné (the word translates as "to have skated" in French) with his wife, Susie, and friend Dean Nucich in 2011. What began as a hobby went on to become a passion for Fox, who started drinking wine while playing for the Kings in the 1980s. “It was the first time in my life that I experienced something that was not black or white,” he told Unfiltered. “Wine gave me something that I never experienced in pro sports.” Intrigued by its nuances, he set out to learn as much as he could about the subject, eventually deciding to make his own. The partners tapped winemaker Mike Smith, who makes the wines for Carter, Quivet and Myriad, among others, to guide the grapes to bottle. Patiné’s wines are produced at Envy Wines in Napa.

With Patiné, Fox joins the ranks of former hockey stars with their own labels, including the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, and Valeri Bure of Bure Family in Napa. This year Fox released a hat trick of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from the 2014 vintage. For the grapes, winemaker Smith turned to the Gap’s Crown and Sun Chase vineyards in the windy Petaluma Gap area of the Sonoma Coast and the Soberanes Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Fox and his wife are actively involved in Patiné, helping during the harvest and tasting through samples. “It’s a deeper connection [for them] than just wanting a brand,” says Smith. While Fox doesn’t plan to quit his role as an analyst, he does want to gain more hands-on experience so he can be more active in the winemaking process. He says his goal is to grow the label, and he may eventually take on a bigger role at the winery. “It’s not a hobby,” says Fox. “It’s a big part of my life.”

Canadian Winery Brings Van Gogh to Okanagan Valley … with English Doppelganger and Massive Bronze Bust

James O'Mara
Englishman Daniel Baker was selected from more than 1,200 van Gogh lookalikes.

"I have found Vincent," Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland proclaimed this week on his website. Apparently Coupland has spent the past several months searching for the world's best Vincent van Gogh lookalike, poring over more than 1,000 photos from 37 countries before spotting Christchurch, England's Daniel Baker. The impetus for Coupland's quest is an art series called "Red Heads and Pinot Noirs," the first of which will be a nearly 10-foot-long bronze bust of van Gogh "listening to the earth" installed at Martin's Lane Winery in Canada's Okanagan Valley. The bust was commissioned by Anthony von Mandl, whose VMF Estates includes Okanagan wineries Martin's Lane, Mission Hill Family Estate, CheckMate Artisanal Winery and CedarCreek Estate Winery.

The finished bust will be unveiled in April, but Baker's identity was revealed this week. The van Gogh doppelganger was flown to Vancouver to be photographed for a three-dimensional digital model that would be used to create the bust. "I'd spent months looking at van Gogh lookalikes on a computer screen," Coupland said, "and then suddenly there was this man, this Vincent van Gogh, hopping out of a Vancouver taxi, looking like he'd just stepped out of the year 1889."

World Champion Chicago Cubs Get Championship Sparklers

Courtesy of Wine by Design
Buy me some peanuts … and pair it with a Cubs Championship Brut.

When the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series Championship in 108 years earlier this month, there was a lot of bubbly popped, starting in the Cubs' own locker room with plenty of help from celebrity Cubs superfan Bill Murray. Since then, former Saturday Night Live Harry Caray impersonator Will Ferrell has starred in a mock video as Anchorman's Ron Burgundy reacting to the Cubs' victory. (Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was caught on camera referencing Anchorman in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, telling teammate David Ross, "I'm in a glass case of emotion!") And the Cubs have received notes of congrats from the United States Senate and even Pope Francis.

And now, perhaps their greatest honor yet: Their very own limited-edition World Series Championship Brut California sparkling wine. Officially licensed by Major League Baseball and made by Wine by Design at Rack & Riddle in Healdsburg, Calif., the traditional method sparkler is priced at $25 a bottle and available at www.MLB.com/wine. We hear it pairs great with goat.

Manetti Shrem Museum of Art Opens at U.C. Davis

The wine world paused in September to honor the passing of California wine legend Margrit Mondavi, but her legacy was alive in spirit this past Sunday at the opening of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California at Davis. An all-day street fair complete with food trucks, spoken-word performances and interactive art pieces took place outside the museum until noon, when the doors opened to the public for the first time.

The museum is the result of a years-long dream shared by Shrem, the founder of Clos Pegase winery, his wife, Maria, and Mondavi. “We are delighted that the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at U.C. Davis has now opened–a dream over 60 years in the making," Shrem told Unfiltered. "This museum was a shared vision with our dear friend, Margrit Mondavi, and it was our privilege to partner with her and so many others in its realization."

Located on the south side of campus, the free museum is in familiar company—just steps away is the university’s Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Four exhibits of contemporary art are currently on display, along with classical art pieces from the university's fine arts collection and gifts from faculty.

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