The NBA season is over—which means soiree season is in full swing for frequent Most Valuable/Most Vinous Player LeBron James. On Monday night, after a few months' hiatus from posting favorite bottle shots on social media, @KingJames took to Instagram Stories to show off his most recent wine wins scored with his friend and business manager Maverick Carter, putting up epic vintages from hall-of-famers like Sassicaia, Screaming Eagle, Guigal Côte-Rôtie and Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo (x2).
"I welcome him to Châteauneuf any time," Pégaü's Laurence Féraud declared to Unfiltered on hearing of the selection. "I will cook and pair with Mediterranean food my best cuvées for him."
The evening's star lineup (left to right):
The new Los Angeles Laker may have been inspired by all the attention his buddy and fellow erstwhile Cleveland Cabernier Dywane Wade has been getting with his wine ventures, but we already knew that James loves the wine world, and isn't afraid to show it. And after asking around, we discovered that the wine world loves him right back.
"We are extremely pleased and honored that Sassicaia is among the wines he prefers!" Tenuta San Guido's Priscilla Incisa Della Rocchetta told us. "And while he is a fan of Sassicaia, we are in return all fans of LeBron at Tenuta San Guido!"
"A taste of La Landonne 2000 these days is a good move, because this wine is coming to a great maturity," Philippe Guigal commended James. "We feel honored about his choice … Good move and a long life to 'King James,' considering that La Landonne might be a 'buzzer-beater.'" (Guigal did note, however, that it is fellow baller and compatriot Tony Parker who built a basketball school not far from the winery.)
Closer to home, Caymus owner Chuck Wagner is also thrilled. "Of course I am a big fan of LeBron and overwhelmed with happiness that he likes Caymus."
Where in the world of wine will the benevolent King James conquer next?
With the sagas of The Drops of God and The Initiates coming to a close, we've been wondering who would heed the call to become the next comic-book wine hero we need in these times. Not a moment too soon, Chilean artist Mauro Ceballos has swooped in with the latest illustrated adventure of intrigue, action and wine, Di Vin Sang, an ambitious new story spanning 43 pages, hundreds of years and the vinous traditions of the Old World and New World. Indeed, wine fills both the page and the paper itself, as Ceballos sourced his "ink" from vigneron Olivier Cazenave of Bordeaux's Château de Bel, using dabs of Cabernet Franc to color in the self-proclaimed-but-we-wouldn't-challenge-it "first comic strip painted with wine."
Our story begins in the undisturbed wilds of South America, where we find the native inhabitants living in peace, building dwellings, herding llamas and playing ancient-rules field hockey. But there's trouble in paradise—viticulture comes to Ceballos' pre-modern Chile not in the form of humble missionaries, but anthocyanin-colored horned demon-centaurs brandishing swords, crosses and goblets of grapey booze. Sang and vin both flow, but soon another wave of newcomers arrive from 19th-century France bearing cuttings of Bordeaux varieties.
"I live in the city of Bordeaux, and here the wine is sacred," Ceballos told Unfiltered via email. "But nobody really knew the history of this wine relationship between Chile and France." So Ceballos wanted a "playful, educational project" to explain the vinous kinship between his native and adopted homes; having two Bordeaux-born daughters made it even more personal.
Ceballos, also a musician, first got the idea for the tannic technique after designing an album cover for his band Guaka's Made in Bordeaux shaded with wine stains; more work in the medium soon followed. His curious audiences "always asked what was the taste of the painting," he laughed. After "deep research on tanning produced by several types of grapes from completely different terroirs" on different mediums, Ceballos settled on de Bel's multi-vintage Franc de Bel cuvée. After inventing and perfecting a technique to paint his frames, and 2,200 hours of painstaking work, Ceballos had a book; director Sergio Santamaría committed the panels to film, scored to music, and the château got in on the fun with a 6,000-bottle run of Di Vin Sang cuvée, which also wears a custom cartoon label. Ceballos hopes to bring his story to international audiences soon.
While we like to focus on new and useful research, recommendations and recipes in the realm of wine and healthy living, it can be instructive to revisit how our ancestors understood wine's role in maintaining a sound mind and body in the age before we discovered the Mediterranean diet on 60 Minutes.
This week, the internet unearthed a decades-old diet regimen first published in Helen Gurley Brown's 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl, and later republished in a 1977 issue of Vogue, promising to make adherents feel "sexy, exuberant [and] full of the joie de vivre": 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 black coffee, 1 glass white wine ("dry, preferably Chablis") for breakfast; 2 eggs, 1 black coffee, 2 glasses white wine for lunch; and 5 oz. steak (grilled, with black pepper and lemon juice), 1 black coffee and "remainder" of the wine bottle for dinner. Keep that up for three days, wrote Gurley Brown, and shed five pounds! Nutritionists weighing in from a 2018 perspective have suggested supplementing the diet with boosts of, say, vitamins, nutrients, calories, food variety or even an entirely different approach to feeding oneself altogether.
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