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Do the Mollydooker Shake, Baby New Year arrives in Napa, Marilyn Monroe is on a sparkling wine (since a lot of sparkling wine went into her) and a rough time with some old wines

Posted: January 9, 2008

• One of the downsides of writing about wine is that we've never had a chance to use the old "shaken, not stirred" line at a party. Perhaps now we can. Unfiltered stumbled across a video in which a Sparky and Sarah Marquis, the husband-and-wife team behind Mollydooker, in McLaren Vale, South Australia, explain the best way to drink a young bottle of their wine: Shake it vigorously. They even call the technique the Mollydooker Shake. It involves opening a bottle, pouring out half a glass, closing the bottle, shaking it upside down, then opening the bottle again. The process creates a creamy layer of bubbles on the top of the wine. The bubbles are nitrogen gas, which the Marquises use as a preservative to protect their wines against oxidation. As Sarah mentions in the video, the idea is to get rid of the nitrogen because it masks the fruit flavors in the wine. Mollydooker isn't the only winery to bottle using nitrogen, but getting rid of the gas by shaking the wine is a new one to us. Detailed instructions for the Mollydooker Shake can also be found on the winery's website. Unfiltered would like to point out, too, that inhaling the nitrogen gas is just excessive—the wine is good enough on its own.

• This New Year's Eve we know at least one winemaker's celebration included more than a bottle of bubbly and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Thomas Brown, consultant for several Napa Valley wineries—including Schrader, Tamber Bey and Chiarello—was celebrating the birth of his son, Oscar, with baby's mother, Genevieve Welsh. Oscar, 7.5 pounds, made his debut at St. Helena Hospital shortly before 5 a.m. on Jan. 1, making this the second year in a row that the first baby of the vintage in Napa County came from a winemaking family. In 2007, Aaron Pott, Quintessa consulting winemaker, and wife, Claire, were the lucky parents of Napa's New Year's baby, daughter Tosca. We hear that for her first birthday she got a My First Pumpover kit.

If you drink the whole bottle, you feel like you're married to Arthur Miller.

• It's rumored that Marilyn Monroe once filled her bathtub with 350 bottles of Champagne and enjoyed a luxurious bath (though no one's sure who had more fun, her or the Champagne). So it's little surprise that the newest release from Marilyn Wines, the company best known for its Marilyn Merlot, is a sparkler: Blonde de Noirs North Coast 2004 (650 cases, $30). Proprietors Robert and Donna Holder created the wine as a tribute to the actress' favorite beverage. "Marilyn did really like sparkling wine, so we felt we should be doing it," said Donna. Since its release this month, response to the wine has been overwhelming, according to Donna, which isn't surprising based upon the past success of Marilyn Wines, which have been considered collectibles since their 1985 debut. No reports yet, however, of anyone filling his or her tub with Blonde de Noirs.

At least the sink was happy.

• We hope that Timothy Han, London-based founder of an eponymous line of luxury home and body products, is in for a good year ahead—because his 2008 couldn't have started much worse (in wine terms, anyway). It's got to be all uphill from here. Han sent Unfiltered this photo of some of the wines he and his family opened to ring in the New Year, but unfortunately, "Every single one of them was off and poured down the drain," he said. "I think 20 bottles in total ... I stopped counting. Enough to make a grown man cry. There were a few other ones too—I was too depressed to document them." So you don't have to squint, right in the middle there is a Château Margaux 1972. The bright spot for Han is that the bottles all belonged to his uncle, who received them as gifts over the years but doesn't drink wine much at all. So Han didn't shell out any of his own hard-earned cash on these wines.

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