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Corinne Mentzelopoulos > the Greek owner of a French winery July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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So what would you have for lunch at Le Cirque with a bottle of one of the world’s greatest red wines, Chateau Margaux ’99? If you were the chateau’s owner, Corinne Mentzelopoulos, you’d have the wine decanted, then order a cheeseburger with onions and french fries. 

corinne_mentzelopoulos.jpg  Corinne Mentzelopoulos, 54, speaks very fast, in flawless English, as well as in French and Greek. She was born in France to a Greek father and a French mother, and she had a Scottish nanny. At 10 she spent the first of many summers in Canada.

“I literally lived on North American junk food!” she said over lunch in New York. “I’m very, very much into American stuff, because when you are that age and you go for two months every summer, it sticks with you forever.”

Not surprisingly, the burger and fries made perfect sense with the glorious Margaux. The beef and cheese were of superb quality; the onions added a hint of sweetness; the fries were crisp and hot. I was enchanted with the wine’s fullness and depth. Its balance of fruit, acid and tannins; its complex, evolving structure; its wonderful freshness, these things made every sip a revelation.

In 1977, when Andre Mentzelopoulos, the Greek grocery tycoon, bought the Margaux property, it had been in decline for many years and on the market for two.

“Other businessman,” his daughter remembers, “tried to discourage him, but it was too late. My father had the extraordinary foresight to understand what Chateau Margaux stood for at a time when nobody wanted to buy it.”

An offer by the American company National Distillers had been spurned by the French government itself, but Mentzelopoulos, who had made his fortune in France and was married to a Frenchwoman, was granted permission to purchase the estate Thomas Jefferson numbered among the “four vineyards of first quality.”

He poured money into both the vineyards and the chateau, one of the most beautiful in Bordeaux, and brought in the respected consultant Emile Peynaud. “He put in new vat rooms, built a new underground cellar from scratch, made a careful selection of grapes for further ripeness and introduced a second wine called Pavillon du Chateau Margaux,” Mentzelopoulos said. “By 1980, he’d pretty much turned it around.”

Andre Mentzelopoulos died in 1980, at 65. Management of the estate passed to his wife, Laura, and then to Corinne, who was still at the helm when, in 1991, Italy’s Agnelli family bought majority ownership. The Agnellis put the chateau back on the market in 2003, at a time when Bill Gates was shopping around for a Bordeaux wine estate. Corinne Mentzelopoulos marshaled her considerable resources and bought the Agnellis’ 75 percent share for $440 million, making her the sole owner.

By then she had been involved with Margaux for two decades. But since the estate has been making wine since the 16th century, she regards herself as the latest in a long line of caretakers. “Chateau Margaux does not belong to us,” she says. “We belong to Chateau Margaux. Our role is only a little part of a very long history. Whatever we’re doing today is nothing in comparison to the soil, the terroir that has been assembled over the centuries. Funnily enough,” she adds, “we need a poor soil, because we want the vines to struggle. The more they struggle, the more complex they become.”

Asked about the possibility of her going into partnership with a California winery to produce a Bordeaux-style California cabernet, as Chateau Mouton-Rothschild did with Robert Mondavi to produce Opus One, she shook her head and shrugged:

“I don’t want to make a cult wine that sells all its bottles before it’s even released. I’m convinced that, whatever the investments, whatever the energy, we couldn’t produce something as good as Chateau Margaux. And if we produced something less good, what’s the point? I might as well invest in bonds, which I already do. So, OK, I invest in shares, what do I do then? Sit around all day and buy 10 Rolls-Royces and 20 yachts? I would shoot myself because I’d be so bored.”

Original article by John Mariani at > Chateau Margaux is great even with cheeseburger.


12th annual Greek Heritage Festival July 13-15 July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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On Friday, July 13, at 11 a.m. the 12th annual Greek Heritage Festival kicks off at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, located at 186 Bradley St. (Route 5) in Saco.

The festival runs until 9 p.m. on Friday. The hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, July 15.

The festival includes authentic homemade Greek food and pastries, live entertainment, narrated church tours, a Greek grocery store, a Greek coffee house, fun kids’ activities and more.

Free satellite parking and shuttlebus service will be offered from the Saco Valley Shopping Center on Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. For additional information please call 284-5651.

Fill up on food and dancing at Greek Festival July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Got a craving for heavenly baklava?

It will be on the Greek Festival menu at Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church on Friday through July 15.

The fair tables also will be laden with other Greek specialties such as lamb, gyros, souvlaki, loukoumades and desserts. There will be Greek music, dancing and imported Greek goods including jewelry and clothing, and a raffle for roundtrip tickets to Greece or $1,000.

Hours for the free event are 4-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. July 14; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 15. The church is at 2215 Paseo Road, Colorado Springs.

Model contests in Greece July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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The 11th Miss Tourism Planet and Miss Mediterranean 2007, are currently taking place in Greece and end on 13 July.

Miss Mediterranean is being staged on the island of Limnos and Miss Tourism Planet in Athens. This comprises two hectic weeks of intensive rehearsals, press calls and cultural visits.

‘The idea of celebrating two contests simultaneously was to bring together as many models as possible from all over the world but also to be able to focus exclusively on the Mediterranean region at the same time,’ said George Koutoulias, the President of the organization in Greece.

This year’s representatives will be competing in swimwear, evening gown and national and fantasy costume.

Billy Zane’s fashion is > July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style, Movies Life.
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I’d describe my fashion style as bi-polar. It’s a schizophrenic mix of country gent upstairs and motorcycle delivery man downstairs, Hooray Henry crossed with Mad Max.

I like to mix contemporary styles with vintage classics. This eclectic style tends not to be deliberate or contrived, rather it’s a happy accident. I’ve never waxed any part of my body. I’m happy with where my hair is. Kelly Brook, his fiancée, loves my stubble. She likes it on my head as well as my face.

Recently, for a play, I went for the fully hirsute look, I had to have a handlebar moustache and mutton chops. I also grew some hair on top. But the emphasis is on the word “some”, because I’m not over-endowed. But in summer, I tend to keep my head shaved.

I’m a binge shopper. I tend to buy a whole season in one go rather than a piece here and a piece there. I put off shopping and then blitz it. When I worked in London recently, I flew in direct from Greece, where I’d been filming Fishtales with Kelly.

I’d had no time to go home to LA, so I had to go shopping as soon as I got here. It was a great excuse to visit my friend the tailor Ozwald Boateng in Savile Row and to call in at Gieves & Hawkes. Labels aren’t everything. A piece of clothing doesn’t have to have a designer label.

My favourite item this summer, for example, has been an £8 sarong I picked up on the Greek island of Spetses. It’s dark blue with yellow suns on it and it was totally versatile. I wore it as a sarong, a scarf and a shirt beneath a jean jacket. It even served as a tent, so I got my money’s worth. I couldn’t be parted from my favourite leather jacket. I bought it in 1988 at a shop called Skin Deep in Sydney.

Over the years it has moulded itself to my body shape and become a second skin. It was a simply cut black jacket when I bought it; now it is so worn it is grey, almost white in places. Genetically, I wasn’t made for high fashion. I can’t get away with that anorexic, androgynous look you see on catwalks.

My ancestors came from Sparta, in Greece, where male babies considered runts were hurled from the cliffs. So probably thanks to my genes I’m a complete meathead.

I’m crazy about hats. I have all kinds… caps, Fedoras, a worn Panama or two, a messed-up straw hat. I like vintage hats, too, like Trilbies from the Fifties. And there’s a lot to be said for the floppy Henry Miller. Jewellery is cliched. Bangles, necklaces and trinkets all seem about as individual as tattoos or piercings. Fundamentally, there’s nothing unique or rebellious about any of that stuff. I’m also not fond of jewellery that is glaringly aspirational and meant to tell observers how wealthy the wearer might be.

Acting can be a very emasculating endeavour because it’s the terrain of the effete. You have to mind how you look, it goes with the territory. If you ask a builder whether he moisturises he’ll probably give you a very heterosexual, alpha-male answer; I’d probably do that, too.

I like to keep in shape. When I’m in LA I run and do Pilates or yoga. I’ll push a little weight, too, but I bulk up easily. Ten years ago I trained for 12 months for The Phantom and I needed to be big. I’m much less beefy now but my muscles have retained their ‘memory’: now I only have to look at a dumbbell and I inflate.

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Global poll for the world’s new 7 wonders July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For 7New Wonders.
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The Great Wall of China, Greece’s Acropolis and Peru’s Machu Picchu were leading contenders to be named among the new seven wonders of the world in a global poll whose results were to be announced Saturday.

The winners were to be announced in Lisbon, Portugal. People throughout the world voted by Internet or phone message for the world’s top architectural marvels, said New7Wonders, the group conducting the balloting. The campaign was launched in 1999 by the Swiss Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations came in, and the list was narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006. 

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, keeps a list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 851 places, but the agency was not involved in Weber’s project.

Countdown starts to find modern 7 global wonders > A new, modern list of the seven wonders of the world is being released Saturday in a lavish ceremony in Lisbon. 

The current list was drafted by Greek writer Antipater of Sidon, but this one has the input of 90 million people, according to organizers, who say that’s how many people cast votes online, by phone and by text message over a year and a half.

Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete for a spot, so the pyramids at Giza will retain their status as an ancient wonder. Adding seven new wonders will make for a total of eight once polls close. Egyptian officials have dismissed the contest as nothing more than as a commercial affair.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has also distanced itself. It says highlighting the sentimental value of a few sites is not enough and that results of the voting will only reflect the opinions of those with access to the Internet.

Unesco, which awards World Heritage status to historical sites worldwide and oversees their maintenance, has snubbed the awards as have some governments. Unesco, for its part, confirmed that it had been invited to support the project on several occasions, but had decided not to collaborate. A statement released by the Organisation concludes:

“There is no comparison between Mr Weber’s mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on Unesco’s World Heritage List. The list of the ‘7 New Wonders of the World’ will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.”

Meanwhile, the Unesco World Heritage Committee met last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, and added 22 sites to the World Heritage List. The new additions range from the Rainforests of the Atsinanana in Madagascar to the old town of Corfu in Greece. You can see the new additions on the Unesco website > http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/365

Portugal’s President is to attend the world wonders ceremony, hosted by Oscar-winning actors Ben Kingsley and Hilary Swank, and Bollywood star Bipasha Basu. Spanish tenor José Carreras and American singer Jennifer Lopez will be performing. Tickets to the event, to be staged at Benfica’s Stadium of Light, will cost up to £75 and Christiano Ronaldo, Jose Carreras, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Kingsley will be among the guests.

Related Links > http://www.new7wonders.com

A worthy opening to Greek drama festival July 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Stage & Theater.
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Iphigenia in Tauris, opening the 11th International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, on Wednesday July 4

On Wednesday this week the 11th International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama commenced at the Paphos Ancient Odeon with the Cyprus Theatre Organisation’s (THOC) presentation of a technically breathtaking production of Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides.

This version, translated by K.Ch. Myris with direction and movement by Yannis Margaritis, enhanced the strong work of the actors by presenting a chorus of meticulous movement and emotion; complemented by the music of Thanos Mikroutsikos and some brilliant percussion by George Koulas and Marios Nicolaou. This professional company never ceases to impress by its ability to travel yet present such brilliant lighting and sound for such a complex presentation.

The Iphigenia of Stela Firogeni was riveting and in true Greek declamatory style, what an Electra this actress would be. Her Orestes and his cousin Pylades, played by Neoklis Neokleous and Achilleas Grammatikopoulis, boldly denounced their text yet brought tenderness to the scene of recognition between Iphigenia and Orestes. King Thoas was played by Andonis Katsaris, giving another of his well-rounded interpretations of evil that was only reconciled by the dramatic appearance of Athena played by Margarita Zachariou.

Again the clever use of earth, fire and water played an integral part in the atmosphere of this melodrama. Special mention must also be made of the dramatic costumes designed by Stavros Antonopoulos and the setting by Andy Bargilly, with its surprising transformation for the appearance of Athena. A worthy opening to this season of Ancient Greek Drama.