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'Wine Spectator' Banned in New Jersey Prisons? Plus, 'Bachelor' Heads to Hall Winery

We contacted the Dept. of Corrections to find out why this might be contraband. Also in Unfiltered, Yellow Tail is back on the road to the Super Bowl
Cruel and unusual: Are residents of East Jersey State Prison being denied access to the world of wine education?
Photo by: Jackie Finn-Irwin
Cruel and unusual: Are residents of East Jersey State Prison being denied access to the world of wine education?

Posted: January 18, 2018

Drug paraphernalia. Gang-colored accessories. Knives. Shivs. Shanks. Wine Spectator magazine? One of these things is not like the others, but that may not be an opinion shared by the administrators of New Jersey penitentiaries: Unfiltered has learned that our parent publication appears to be among the books and magazines banned in New Jersey prisons. That's right, New Jersey's incarcerated wine lovers might not be permitted to enjoy their favorite wine publication.

The ban came to Unfiltered's attention during the controversy surrounding the state's decision to ban The New Jim Crow, a book about the mass incarceration of people of color (the ban on this particular book has since been lifted after public outcry). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey sent a Government Records Request to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, demanding documents detailing policies on restricting publications, as well as the titles of the banned materials. There, in the company of High Times, Senseless Carnage, Cocaine Nation, How to Hustle & Win (Parts I and II) and, uh, Parents magazine, we spotted "Wine Spectacular."

Since no such book or magazine seems to exist, we inferred the New Jersey DOC meant to list Wine Spectator. When reached for comment, a DOC spokesperson would not confirm that the banned Wine Spectacular is, in fact, supposed to be the same title as the discerning inmate's go-to source for objective reviews of over 16,000 wines per year and in-depth features on wineries, restaurants and regions to watch. But the DOC did offer this glimmer of hope: "Although the NJDOC's policy regarding the availability of written materials to the inmate population is in accordance with the New Jersey Administrative Code 10A, please note that the department's policy, as well as all current lists of banned written materials, is under review for appropriate revisions. This process will include ... examining our current lists to determine the reasons why particular publications were banned."

The review in New Jersey is a result of lobbying by the ACLU, which argues that banning books and other materials is a violation of inmates' First Amendment rights. "The DOC should recognize that banning certain magazines in their entirety raises additional legal concerns," Tess Borden, staff attorney of the ACLU of New Jersey, told Unfiltered. "If a prison wanted to ban Wine Spectator—or Wine Spectacular—at all, it would presumably have to review each issue for objectionable content to comport with the DOC's own regulations and the First Amendment."

Unfiltered will be following this case closely and hopes such restrictions don't ultimately affect notable wine lovers on the inside in Alabama or California.


At Hall, Contestant Lauren S. Pronounces ‘Bachelor’ Arie ‘Little Wine Connoisseur,’ Is Eliminated on the Spot

To the delight of wine and reality TV devotees, last season of the Bachelorette ended with Rachel Lindsay saying a big, dramatic “Sì!” to suitor Bryan Abasolo on location at Viñedos Contino in Spain’s Rioja wine region (after an equally dramatic cliffhanger at Eguren Ugarte). So Unfiltered was thrilled to learn that wine country has again become the Bachelor(ette) backdrop. On Monday's episode, current Bachelor/former Indy 500 man Arie Luyendyk Jr. whisked one of the season’s four Laurens away to Napa with the invitation, “You had me at Merlot.”

Jamie Chandler/HALL
Arie Luyendyk Jr. is the rare racecar driver who is not also a California vintner; Kathryn Hall is the rare California vintner who is not also a racecar driver.

With that, the two like-birds were off to Hall Wines. Owner Kathryn Hall told Unfiltered that Arie and Lauren S. (31, marketing manager, Dallas) kicked off the date with a sip of the estate’s T Bar T Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2016 before being loosed into the estate’s historic Bergfeld Vineyard at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains. We see the two picking Cabernet grapes and snacking on them vineside, as one does. Could it be love? According to Hall, they were nudged in that direction via pours of Rainin Vineyard, Sacrashe Vineyard and The Bishop Cabernets. “I could see living here,” Arie muses. His salt-and-pepper hair glimmers in the Napa sun.

Later that evening, in the estate’s Bergfeld Building, Arie and Lauren check out the Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (still no Merlot—an ominous portent?). “I feel like you’re a little wine connoisseur,” Lauren observes coyly. “No, I just like going to wineries,” Arie replies flatly. Alas, as it turns out, preferably without Lauren. (S.)

Indeed, while Lauren was off getting ready for dinner, it was Kathryn H. who shared a glass of Rainin Cabernet with Arie. “Arie is polished, charming and very down to earth,” the vintner told us. But her money is on Becca K. to win the day: “Arie seems to like smart and enthusiastic women. May the best woman win!”


Are You Ready for Some Shiraz?? Yellow Tail Is Back on the Road to the Super Bowl

Fans of the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Australia Stereotypes were delighted during last year's Super Bowl to see a Yellow Tail ad deliver zany outfits, a sunglasses-wearing kangaroo, "the barbie," the whole works. Notably, it was the first wine ad to air during the big game since 1989. Now, Yellow Tail is back for the run-up to next month's Super Bowl LII, with a decked-out food truck touring the country to serve game-day sandwiches paired with Yellow Tail wines.

Courtesy of Yellow Tail
"Just the two of us / On a truck that sells our wine / Just the two of us / You and I."

Celebrity chef Jeff Mauro of Food Network's The Kitchen (and previously, perhaps more pertinently, The Sandwich King) created the menu and pairings with Yellow Tail, and he was aboard the truck during its New York stop, where Unfiltered caught up with him. “I wanted a pairing that was accessible, greasy, that you can eat with your hands. Yellow Tail is such an easy-drinking wine that it’s easy to pair,” Mauro, who grew up in a family of home winemakers, told us. “Let’s just say [wine] was a love affair from an early age.”

Inspired by the menus of Mauro's Pork & Mindy's restaurants, the chef is serving up a buffalo cauliflower sandwich, a pastrami reuben, and a “Pig Candy” BLT, named for the sugar-coated bacon inside. The truck continues a loop south as far as Florida, before heading up to Minneapolis, where Mauro will rejoin it for the game. The tour is also intended to raise awareness for hunger-relief organization Rise Against Hunger, to which Yellow Tail will cut a check.

But in all this, where is the beloved marsupial-man duo from last year’s ads? That's under wraps for now, but we can confirm Yellow Tail will be onscreen once again during the Super Bowl. Mauro hopes to see Yellow Tail Guy and his sidekick back in action. "Man with a beard like that has to be an OK guy.” He added, “I hope Roo shows up.”


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