After last month's sans-vandalism protest by winemakers in southern France, a rather blasé affair, Unfiltered feared the days of peaceful-protest crashing and wine tank–emptying were over. Had the wine vandals of yore simply achieved their goal of ridding France of Spanish wine? Nope, and turns out it wouldn't have mattered anyway!
In the past week and change, the Comité d'Action Viticole (CAV) struck two wineries in the Aude and the Hérault, in the Languedoc-Roussillon viticultural region. The anonymous group of vintner-militants has become notorious in recent years for vandalizing properties to protest the importation of Spanish table wine which, they claim, undercuts French juice in the market. They target bulk wineries that store and sell wine of Spanish origin.
Approximately 5,000 hectoliters of wine was spilled at Lalande Galetis on the night of June 7 and another 2,000 poured out at Domaine du Mas du Pont on Tuesday; in both attacks, masked individuals hacked into the wineries' vats with a mace (ouch!). The group claimed the attacks by spray-painting the messages "here Spanish wine" and "stop imports," along with "CAV," on walls.
But what these so-called men d'action viticole possess in reactionary bravado they seem to lack in wine-identifying skills: Most of the wine they spilled was French, not Spanish. "It's really a gratuitous act of barbarity," said Nicolas Vellas of Domaine Mas du Pont, according to Midi Libre. His vats were clearly labeled, he claimed, and the protesters should have known what they were destroying. "It's a pity," said Pierre Degroote of Lalande Galetis about his lost Languedoc wine, as reported in L'Independant. Only 2 percent of his production is Spanish wine, which he sells to China, he said. Unfiltered is starting to think maybe these CAV guys aren't the purely principled warriors for economic justice we thought we knew!
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is one of the most popular festivals of the year, and with the promise of great food, quality booze and celeb sightings, Unfiltered felt compelled to don our tie-dyed finest and head on down to middle Tennessee. Here's just a sampling of our adventures down on the "farm":
Bonnaroovians went nuts when Chance the Rapper, the unofficial "Mayor of Bonnaroo" was spotted mingling in the crowd at Bacardi's makeshift beach party, the Oasis. Unfiltered was stationed just a few rum punch–filled coconuts away from the hip-hop superstar as he and his crew played volleyball in the middle of the festival grounds. Fellow 'Roo performers Major Lazer, an electronica trio, were also around to help promote the new Bacardi Major Lazer Limited Edition rum.
Wine lovers came out to play, as well: The Rosé Lounge by Dark Horse Wines served up rosé, naturally, alongside the winery's other pours. The luckiest guests got the chance to climb up to the Dark Horse rooftop and sip frosé on tap while overlooking the festival grounds.
The Broo’ers Festival was another salvation to thirsty concert-goers, offering 25 beers on tap from breweries across the U.S., including Bell’s, Blue Moon, Crazy Mountain, Magic Hat and Leinenkugel. Broo U offered daytime activities like tastings, classes, discussions and forums.
Once properly hydrated, festival-goers jammed out to big-name acts including Lorde, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Weeknd, the XX and the headliner act, U2.
"What an extraordinary thing Bonnaroo is," frontman Bono quipped to the audience. "Thank you for naming it after me.”
With their NBA championship win Monday night, the Oakland-based Golden State Warriors once again became hometown heroes of North Coast California wine country. But locker-room celebrations call for Champagne showers, and according to the stringent guidelines set by the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC), Champagne showers can only be sprayed with wine made in the Champagne region of France, otherwise they must legally be called "sparkling wine showers" …. OK, maybe not (but maybe?), but the Warriors did eschew local fizz in favor of Moët & Chandon Imperial magnums in special-edition "luminous" packaging.
After the clock ran out on the fourth quarter of Game 5, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and the gang headed to the locker room, donned ski goggles, and let loose the waterworks. Coaches Steve Kerr and Mike Brown were awarded the most vigorous soakings, Durant dribbled his beer, and soon it fell to Draymond Green to plan out the rest of the evening, which meant, of course, "We're going to Harlot!!" At the nightclub, the Warriors made an even bigger play, hoisting 6-liter Moët Nectar Imperial rosé bottles engraved with the Warriors' logo and "2017 Champions," with an assist from Golden State superfan and rapper/vintner E-40. Unfiltered hopes the defeated Cavaliers, who got to taste the Nectar last year, at least got customized silver bottles of Moët Ice engraved with "2017 Gave It Their All."
In April, the eighth-annual Cabernet Cookoff returned to the Hall Wines lawn in St. Helena, Calif., for a day of charity-driven competitive cooking between 14 Bay Area chefs. The food-and-wine pairing showdown attracted over 750 attendees and raised a record $80,000 for local charities, bringing its eight-year total haul to over $400,000. Chef Mark Dommen of One Market in San Francisco took home the win for the fourth time with his dish of Liberty Farms duck risotto with smoked gizzards, peas and crispy duck skin, earning over $9,000 for each of his charities, Collabria Care of Napa and Capra’s St. Helena Hospital. The judges included Napa kitchen capo Ken Frank of Wine Spectator Grand Award winner La Toque and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist.
Unfiltered readers who couldn’t be at the battle in person can now catch a glimpse of what went down that day through Hall's 7-minute documentary, which follows three of the competing chefs—Dommen, Jen Biesty of Shakewell Restaurant in Oakland, and Brandon Watts of Bounty Hunter in Napa—as they strive to create the best dish to pair with Hall’s "Coeur" Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. “We thought that a documentary/short film format would be a perfect way to highlight the intense competition between chef teams, the culinary expertise shown throughout the day, our award-winning wine, the intricacies of judging and the happiness of doing good for charities,” Carlos Guzman, manager of public relations for Hall, told Unfiltered via email.
Next up: Kathryn Hall, owner of Hall and Walt Wines, will be appearing on a Wine Spectator–moderated climate change panel, “Fire and Rain: Climate Change and the Wine Industry,” at Vinexpo Bordeaux on Sunday, June 18.
The lemonade stand, staple business model of preteen entrepreneurship, has grown up. Right in the heart of the season for that other cool, refreshing, pleasantly zippy beverage, rosé, Long Island’s Wölffer Estate Vineyards has set up a roadside drive-thru wine stand to dispense Wölffer rosé by the case, in Sagaponack, N.Y. “The rosé drive-thru had been a dream of mine for some time," co-owner Joey Wölffer said in an email to Unfiltered. "We’re so glad to see it finally come to fruition … We’re all about serving our community, and this is just another example of that.” The cart, overflowing with flowers as well as rosé, is open every Friday and Saturday during the summer. No word yet on whether or not you can get a glass of rosé served in a paper cup for 25 cents ….
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