The world of wine-making has long attracted celebrities of all stripes who want try their hands at producing a virtuous vintage, including the likes of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, musicians Jerry Garcia and Olivia Newton-John, and even pro golfers Ernie Els and Greg Norman.
So we shouldn't be surprised that an adult-film star has decided to dip her toes into the wine vat.
But Savanna Samson, star of "The New Devil in Miss Jones," has gone further than simply slapping a steamy label on some cheesy chardonnay. Her Italian red wine has received a score of 90 to 91 out of 100 by wine guru Robert Parker.
The key, she told Reuters recently, was lining up a respected wine maker. So she convinced Italy's Roberto Cipresso — also a vintner to the Vatican — to join the project.
"I never wanted to just do gimmick. That would just happen with me being a porn star, me having a photographer shoot the label, how risque could I get on the label — all those things," said Samson, the stage name for 31-year-old Natalie Oliveros, adding that it was pure coincidence that Cipresso also sells wines to the Vatican. She said she met him through her husband, a wine merchant.
"I knew I wanted Roberto to make my wine — I just love his passion," she said.
Samson went to Tuscany and tasted dozens of Cipresso's Italian-grown varieties, then she selected a mix of 70 percent Cesanese, 20 percent Sangiovese and 10 percent Montepulciano. She ordered over 400 cases.
The result is Sogno Uno, (Italian for Dream One) a 2004 vintage packaged under the Savanna name with a label showing Samson in a see-through gown. It was launched last month.
Parker has been called the most influential wine critic in the world, and a score of 90 to 95 denotes "an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character."
"Trust me, I didn't add any points for Ms. Samson's personal presentation," Parker wrote in his review.
Right, and you're that guy who reads Playboy for the articles.
Not-so bad ideas
- A word of caution to large people in need of lodging: A hotel in northern Germany has started charging its guests by their weight.
In the town of Norden, close to the Dutch border, guests now have to step onto the scales before moving into their rooms and fork out half a euro ($0.61) per kilogram (2.2 lbs).
"I had many guests who were really huge and I told them to slim down," said Juergen Heckrodt, owner of the three-star establishment. "When they came back the year after and had lost a lot of weight they asked me, 'What are you gonna do for me now?' "
Heckrodt said he hoped his initiative would inspire Germans to become leaner and healthier. "Healthy guests live longer and can come back more often," he told Reuters.
Plus-sized customers may be reassured that the hotel turns no one away who refuses to step on the scales and charges no guest more than 39 euros, the normal single room price.
Which means if you weigh less than 170 pounds, you get a discount. Now that's a healthy incentive for gigantic Germans to cut back on their beer and bratwursts.
- Speaking of food that seems to find a direct route to our thighs, pizza is surely high on that list. And now a Pennsylvania pizzeria is taking the super-size concept to a new level, vying for a spot in Guinness World Records for the world's largest commercially sold pizza. But the $99, 150-slice pizza — simply and aptly called The Big One — available though Mama Lena's Pizza House has had few takers so far.
The would-be record-setter measures about 3 feet by 4 1/2 feet and takes up nearly all the space in the shop's brick oven.Gene J. Puskar / AP
A tip for Mama Lena customers: Call ahead. The Big One takes about 15 minutes to prepare and another 20 to 25 minutes to bake, said Rob Carrabbia, whose wife, Wendy, owns the pizzeria in the suburban Pittsburgh town of McKees Rocks.
"It's 20 pounds of dough, it's a 1 gallon of sauce, 15 pounds of cheese and a lot of tender love and care," Carrabbia said.
The prodigious pizza has been on the menu for more than a year. So far, about 10 have been sold, including for birthday parties and to a school for its basketball team.
"The only way you're looking to order it is if you want a big pizza," Carrabbia said.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.