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Nude winemakers, Jeff Bridges, the N.Y. Yankees and a tale of romance

Posted: October 20, 2004

This Côtes de Bourg winemaker is one of a dozen that went the "full monty" for the sake of promotion.
  • A Naked Marketing Ploy: After the movie Calendar Girls, we suppose it was only a matter of time. A group of French vignerons is releasing a nude calendar to help promote the wines of the Côtes de Bourg appellation and shake up the staid image of Bordeaux. The Grain du Sel association is going for equal opportunity exploitation in its calendar, featuring both male and female winemakers, ages 30 to 60, in various states of undress. While the photos are intended to represent the natural aspect of winemaking, the project organizer said it wasn't easy finding winemakers willing to go au naturel. Perhaps they were worried that too much skin contact would be bad for their wines?

  • Actor Jeff Bridges, who starred in The Big Lebowski, Seabiscuit and most recently The Door in the Floor, bonded with Ledson Vineyards owner Steve Ledson back when Francis Ford Coppola was filming parts of Tucker: The Man and His Dream at Ledson's home in Sonoma. Now Bridges and Ledson are releasing a Cabernet-Merlot blend with the goal of raising money for a new charity, the Harmony Foundation for Children. The two agreed on the 2000 Ledson Harmony Collection Meritage blend over dinner one night, and its label features the cover image from Bridges' recent album, Be Here Soon. For $98 for the Meritage, you can get a good feeling -- 25 percent goes to provide financial support to promising youth who are in need -- and later have Bridges sign the bottle at the winery's gala fundraiser next spring.

  • Here's a cautionary tale, even for those of you who aren't big-name ballplayers. While the New York Yankees were celebrating their Division Series victory over the Minnesota Twins, relief pitcher Tom Gordon was hit in the left eye by a Champagne cork. Apparently, in their excitement, team members forgot the proper way to open a bottle of bubbly -- don't shake it, twist the bottle while keeping your hand on the cork, and ease it out with a sigh, not a pop. Gordon was treated promptly and declared fit to play, despite a black spot and blurriness in his vision for a few days. But his performance has been shaky in the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, starting with the four hits and two runs he allowed in 1 1/3 innings in Games 1 and 2. In the future, guys, at least be careful where you point that thing.

  • Samuel Guibert, son of Aimé Guibert, the iconoclastic French vintner who owns Mas de Daumas Gassac in the Languedoc, is looking forward to a new face in the family. Samuel and his America-born wife, Murphy, are expecting their first child by Christmas. It was a whirlwind romance for the two, who first met last year at Wine Spectator's New York Wine Experience. After talking for about 10 minutes, unable to take their eyes off each other, Murphy said they knew they were meant to be together. Three weeks later, Samuel proposed and Murphy said yes. They are now renovating a 500-year-old manor house at Gassac for their new home and family.

  • Who's The Champ? Italian Enrico Bernardo, the 27-year-old head sommelier at Le Cinq restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Georges V in Paris, was named the World's Best Sommelier this month in Athens, Greece. Sommeliers from 43 countries took part in the competition, organized by the France-based International Association of Sommeliers. After heats on the Greek island of Santorini, Bernardo and three other finalists competed head-to-head, demonstrating feats of skill and speed in blind tasting, matching food with wine and decanting for customers. Bernardo impressed the international jury by being the only finalist who managed to correct every single purposely introduced error on a wine list.

  • Although New York recently passed a law that allows diners to tote home unfinished wine in a doggy bag, the idea of take-out wine might have more bark than bite. The law requires wine to be sealed in a transparent bag with a one-time-use seal, in order to avoid suspicious cops and open-bottle tickets. One restaurant supplier told Wine Spectator that he's already fielding requests from restaurants eager to comply with the new law, but has yet to find a bag that fits its strict parameters. One of our editors tested the law out for himself, but was met with a dubious server who said, "I don't think there's any such thing as a 'wine doggy bag,' so just take the wine home and I'll pretend I didn't see anything."
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