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A Mouton fit for a Prince, the Paris Tasting movie could get bloody, the foie gras fight moves to New York and Emeril returns to the Gulf Coast

Posted: November 29, 2006

• Unfiltered Quiz: Which of these things is not like the others? Salvador Dalí, Jean Miró, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Andy Warhol and His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales. Trick question. Actually, they all have something in common--they've all had artwork adorning bottles of Château Mouton-Rothschild. The first-growth is famous for its labels, designed by a different artist every year since 1945. The 2004 vintage, just bottled and about to be trotted out, features a painting by Prince Charles. Watercolor painting has been one of the heir to the British throne's hobbies for years, and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild chose a painting of pine trees on the Côte d'Azur for the label. Underneath appears a note: "To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, Charles 2004." The Entente is a landmark 1904 treaty between the United Kingdom and France. After centuries of wars dating back to, well, William the Conqueror, the nations have been strong allies since. Unfiltered's a fan of Anglo-Franco peace, and is also proud of Charles for getting a day job in the wine biz. Better yet, by tradition, Mouton-Rothschild always pays the artist in wine, not cash.

• Back in the summer, Unfiltered let you know that a pair of Hollywood producers snapped up the rights to make a film version of Judgment of Paris, the book by George Taber about the 1976 Paris Tasting. At the time, Taber said there was nothing to get excited about, since it just signaled the possibility that a movie might be made. But now things are starting to take shape, with screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen--owner of Kamen Estate in Sonoma--signing on to write the script. "I'm very happy because it means they're putting real money on the table to get a screenwriter, especially to get this one," said Taber. "He's got an incredible background." A background that includes mostly action films, it turns out, such as the Karate Kid movies, the Lethal Weapon movies and The Fifth Element. So we're looking forward to the part of the wine movie when Steven Spurrier, organizer of the tasting, takes a kick to the jaw from French taster Odette Kahn, right before Bruce Willis swoops in and blows the whole tasting to smithereens.

I'm da boss, I'm da boss, I'm da boss ... and nobody tells me I can't serve foie gras!
First, it was the Governator. Then, a Chicago alderman got in on the act, followed by a New Jersey state assemblyman. Unfiltered knew that it was only a matter of time before the great foie gras fight would waddle its way into New York. Sure enough, shortly after the Humane Society of the United States filed suit against the state to prohibit the production and sale of foie gras, word came that New York City councilmember Alan J. Gerson would be proposing his own a ban on the sale and possession of foie gras in the five boroughs. There's good news for foie fans, however, as Gerson appears to have seen the light from the constituents of his restaurant-intensive district, home of Grand Award-winners Cru and Tribeca Grill, along with Mario Batali's flagship restaurant Babbo, among others. "We've been flooded with phone calls," said Paul Nagel, communications director for the council member, who added, "Gerson made the decision not to introduce [the bill] until he had time to talk to some of the constituencies involved, because it's so volatile and complicated." Almost as volatile and complicated as telling Tribeca Grill co-owner Robert DeNiro what he can and cannot serve in his restaurant. Good luck with that one, Councilman.

• One Gulfport, Miss., casino is hoping some culinary star power will lure visitors to the Gulf Coast as the region rebuilds from Hurricane Katrina. Emeril Lagasse announced last week that he'll open his 10th restaurant--Emeril's New Orleans Fish House on the Gulf Coast--in the Island View Casino Resort next summer. "I receive offers everyday to build new restaurants," Lagasse told reporters at a press conference announcing the new venue. "But I chose to open a restaurant on the Gulf Coast because it means a lot to me to be a part of the rebuilding of this community. My family and I have very close ties here--my wife, Alden, grew up in Gulfport." The Coast used to be Lagasse's place to get out of the kitchen. He built a vacation home in nearby Pass Christian, finishing it a month before Katrina roared ashore, leveling the house and much of the city. His new restaurant, a sister to Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas, will seat 200 people and give jobs to at least 80 Gulfport residents. The menu will highlight the area's prized seafood.

More Daddy these days than Diddy.
• The newest bubbly to hit the hip-hop scene: Perrier-Jouet. Well, sort of. The Champagne isn't in a new rap video or celebrity-driven ad campaign--it was the beverage of choice just before Thanksgiving at the lavish "Little Miss Diddy's Pretty in Pink" baby shower for Kim Porter, longtime girlfriend of hip-hop mogul Diddy. "This is the greatest party I've ever had," Diddy, wearing a cotton-candy-pink button-down shirt told the crowd, which included LL Cool J and Jay-Z, according to People magazine. The sparkler is a logical choice. After all, it comes in bottles covered in pink flowers, a fitting touch for a couple expecting twin girls at any minute. Given how influential the hip-hop community is in the world of Champagne these days, could Perrier-Jouet be the next must-serve drink at girlie showers? Perhaps, but what's everyone supposed to drink if the baby's going to be a boy? Not to worry. We're sure a blue-colored Champagne will be available in no time.

Wine in pouches from a country with lots of kangaroos ... go figure.
• There's been wine in a can and wine in a carton, but Canadians will soon be seeing wine in a sack. Western Australia-based Palandri Wines is shipping its 2003 Baldivas Estate 'Cheer Pack' to the Canucks this week, with its eye on the U.S. and U.K. in the future. The Cheer Pack is essentially wine in a recyclable, resealable plastic-and-aluminum foil pouch. "It's a concept we've come up with as [wine companies] are under more and more pressure for convenient and green packaging," said Palandri spokesman Andrew Blythe. The wine is being shipped to Canada, he said, because the Ontario government in particular wants less waste shipped to landfills. 15,000 cases each of 750ml servings of Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay will be exported to North America over the next six months, with single-serve, 187ml pouches expected to follow. While the pouch is recyclable, Blythe said that consumer responsibility will ultimately determine how green the Cheer Pack is. "It's not going to break down if you throw it on the soil in your back garden," he said.

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