Choosing wines to serve honored guests is seldom simple, especially if you’re the President of the United States of America. At his June 7-8 summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, President Obama served the 2004 Chinese Cuvée from Iron Horse Vineyards. This was a particularly astute selection, since the Chinese Cuvée was created to celebrate the current Year of the Snake. And because the Chinese zodiac consists of a twelve-year cycle, this means that 1953, the year that Xi Jinping was born, was also a Year of the Snake.
This was not the first time, however, that the Chinese Cuvée had been served to Xi Jinping. Vice President Joe Biden toasted him with it at a State Department luncheon on February 14, 2012. According to Iron Horse Vineyards’s website, their sparkling wines “have been served at the White House for the past five consecutive presidential administrations, beginning with the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings, which lead to the end of the Cold War.”
Inspired, perhaps, by the many shipwrecked bottles of wine uncovered over the years, some European wineries have experimented with storing wine in the ocean. Mira Winery in Napa Valley is the first American winery to do so, and it appears to have big plans for the process, even going so far as to trademark the term “Aquaoir” to describe the ocean’s effects on wine. While Aquaoir is not exactly analogous to terroir — wine grapes aren’t grown in the ocean — it is meant to call that term to mind.
Former pro basketball player Yao Ming has not been idle since retiring from the Houston Rockets in July 2011. In addition to enrolling at the Shanghai Jaio Tong University and working on behalf of elephant conservation, the thirty-year old has begun producing a pair of premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.
Yao Ming and Tom Hinde, President and Director of Winemaking of Yao Family Wines, presented the portfolio at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles recently. The grapes are sourced from multiple Napa sub-appellations and include small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have had their year(s) in Provence. After leasing Château Miraval from then-owner Tom Bove for three years, the star couple made their stay permanent by purchasing the 1,000 acre Provençal estate outright in 2011. In 2012, Brangelina teamed up with the Perrin family, owners of Château de Beaucastel in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation and makers of dozens of Rhône wines. In March 2013, Jolie and Pitt plan to launch the first Château Miraval Rosé to bear the names Jolie-Pitt and Perrin on the label. It’s produced from grapes grown on the estate’s certified organic vineyards.
The 18th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, which takes place tonight at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA, will have Nicolas Feuillatte as its exclusive Champagne sponsor for the second year in a row. Broadcast live on the CW television network at 8 p.m., the annual awards ceremony will present the best films of 2012. The CCMA awards, hosted this year by KTLA-TV’s Sam Rubin, is thought to be an important influence on other award shows.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte should “bring an air of glamour and elegance [to the awards ceremony], and help elevate our function to a whole new level,” acknowledged Joe Berlin, President of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association and founder of the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. The Champagne will be served during the ceremony as well as on the red carpet and at the after-party.