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Hockey Stars Cheer on Somm; Amar'e Stoudemire's New Kosher Cab

Plus, is wine a performance-enhancing substance? French athletes ponder. And the latest wine archaeology digs up 19th-century Latour
Joe Thornton and Brent Burns toast to achieving the Central Coast winemaker look.
Photo by: San Jose Sharks
Joe Thornton and Brent Burns toast to achieving the Central Coast winemaker look.

Posted: February 22, 2018

If you've ever wanted to whoop and holler when the sommelier comes out with the wine you ordered, you might just be a hockey fan; you might even be San Jose Sharks players Joe Thornton and Brent Burns! In a new video, the center and defenseman share a two-top at a fancy restaurant—in full uniform of pads, jerseys, gloves, lumberjack beards and massive gaps where most non-NHLers have teeth—hooting and cheering as a somm presents a couple at a nearby table with a bottle of wine. "You poured the hell out of that wine!" "Have you noticed that stinky cheese? Perfectly paired!"

The video is the newest addition to the California team's "Sharks for Life" ad campaign, a hilarious series of fan-athlete role-reversals in which Sharks players root for their fans as they complete everyday tasks such as going to the dentist, driving a school bus and binge-watching TV.

As it turns out, the Bay Area team's off-ice wine antics are actually no joke: The team's upcoming annual fundraising event, "Sampling with the Sharks," sponsored by none other than Alaska Airlines' "Wine Flies Free" program is coming up March 6. Fans can taste wines from California producers (past featured participants include Pride Mountain and Silver Oak), mingle with coaches and players, and bid on wine experiences and memorabilia for a good cause: In addition to the charity Sharks Foundation that serves impoverished families, funds this year will also go toward the Community Foundation Sonoma County and the Napa Valley Community Foundation, both supporting those impacted by the 2017 Northern California wildfires. Tickets are still available.


Latest NBA Vintner Amar’e Stoudemire Keeps It Kosher with New Israeli Wine Label

We know our ballers love their wine, but those who've taken the leap into winemaking, like Dwyane Wade, have so far looked to Napa. Six-time All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire most recently played in wine country, but farther to the east—not the New York Knicks, but Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem, of which he's part owner. So the launch of his kosher wine label is motivated by his longstanding connection to the country.

“It’s a blessing for me and my family to be able to produce such great wines from a land like the land of Israel,” Stoudemire said during a press conference at the Jewish National Fund HQ in New York earlier this week, where Unfiltered got a glimpse of the new label, produced in partnership with Tulip Winery in the Galilee.

Jewish National Fund-USA
Amar'e Stoudemire navigates the Red C.

Just in time for Passover, Americans will be able to find Stoudemire Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Stoudemire Grand Reserve 2016 ($60), a Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot ($100), both sourced from Kfar Shamai vineyard in Upper Galilee. The line tops out with Stoudemire's Private Collection 2013 for a Seder splurge at $245; it's a Bordeaux-style blend from the Judean Hills.

The NBA big man has been known to immerse himself in wine before—in that case quite literally. Now “I’m in the field, I’m at the wineries, tasting the grapes, watching the grapes grow, watching the fermentation system … the whole thing,” he said.


A Performance-Enhancing Drink? Pensées on Vin et des Sports at Bordeaux's Cité du Vin

It's not just Adam Rippon whose Olympic "spirit" is wine. With the Games on the brain and the World Cup coming this year as well, the Cité du Vin wine museum in Bordeaux devoted an hour-long panel to wine and sport last week titled, “Wine: A New Sporting Passion?” in conjunction with partner Kedge Business School. France is unsurprisingly a leading producer of vintner-athletes, and panelists included former pro footballer/current wine merchant/Condrieu winemaker (with Stéphane Ogier) Eric Carrière, rugby player Rémi Lamerat, Château Calon-Ségur director and rugby promoter Laurent Dufau, among other experts.

Unfiltered was sadly in another continent at the time, but we learned that the discussion broadly broke down into three courses. The first delved into sports, wine and cash—specifically sportsmen investing in wine ventures, and whether it’s about the completion of one’s dreams or financial interests (or why not both?). The panelists then moved on to the pairing of sport and vin: As an athlete, can it be beneficial to imbibe after competition? (What about … before? During??) Alcohol is not conventionally considered a performance-enhancing drug, but some argued its relaxation effects aid in high-stress precision sports like archery, karate and car racing (Unfiltered opinion: Keep the bottle corked till after the checkered flag on that one). The final topic of discussion focused on wine's image in sports entertainment, especially in light of the infamous Evin law, which restricts beverage advertising during sports broadcasts and bans alcohol sponsorships of teams and events in the country.


New Wine Archaeology Find Proves 19th-Century Baltimore Ballers Preferred Latour

A new wine find in Baltimore by a volunteer excavation team paints a picture of a tony address indeed. In 2014, archaeologists Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer, who had recently moved to Baltimore’s Northeast Lauraville neighborhood, decided part of the nearby Herring Run Park seemed like a promising site for a public archaeology project. Though undeveloped at the time, the area had once housed generations of families on a burned-down estate known as Eutaw Manor—and as the pair began digging, it became clear from what was in the wine cellar that Eutaw was practically a pleasure palace of Maryland royalty.

Instagram/herringrunarchaeologyproject
A signet of the times

One especially exciting find among the three dozen bottles in the cellar is a wine bottle seal, bearing the name “W Eade” and “Latour Bordeaux.” The archaeologists surmised that a Mr. Eade’s wine was inherited or purchased by Benedict William Hall, a merchant who lived in Eutaw Manor in the 1820s and '30s. (A wine bottle seal is a glass tag applied to a bottle, often customized with the owner's name—both status symbol and security measure.) Eutaw went up in flames in 1865, but Latour, of course, caught fire in the more colloquial sense, earning the first-growth status in Napoleon III's 1855 Bordeaux Classification that still gives it top billing in the Médoc today.

On Feb. 18, Kraus and Shellenhamer presented their findings from the site at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion in Baltimore. The Latour—among other bits of fancy porcelain and other accoutrements of wealth—demonstrated “an abundance of artifacts associated with a very wealthy family during a very particular time in the 19th century,” Shellenhamer said.


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