October 5, 2009 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot (event): Harvest Party

We reaped a Harvest, indeed.

Photo by Brian Quinn (of The Noble Rot)

Photo by Brian Quinn.

At 2pm EST there was a 20 percent chance of rain predicted, and in NYC 20 percent typically means: I doubt it. Right around 3pm EST, torrential down-pours engulfed the five borrows. By 6pm it was sunny, again. However, we had already made the call to switch locations from an impeccable rooftop in DUMBO, to a secret loft location in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

And we celebrated Harvest like it was 1999. For you see, good wine-reader, the Napa Valley is in the throes of Harvesting their grapey cash-crops. In honor and celebration of their work, we drank excellent examples of California wine from fairly recent vintages. The lineup looked like this:

  • 2005 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc
  • 2006 Calera Pinot Noir (Central Coast)
  • 2005 Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2007 Robert Foley Charbono
  • 2004 Girard Winery “Artistry” Bordeaux Blend

Grapes were strung about the loft and were to be harvested, however the good host, myself, Jonny Cigar, was indulging in the tasting with perhaps more gusto than was necessary, and hence was in no shape to harvest the lot (read: not enough spitting, too much sipping and it would have been a bad idea. Therescore, and unfortunately, my Dumbo Cuvee crop was lost and I’ll have to wait until next year to bottle. Good mannered Noble Rot counter-part Brian Quinn kept the evening in order, but also had his fill.

Playing fantastic blue-grassy inspired music throughout the eve were the Wylie Toms pictured below: Owen (Piano/Banjo/Vocals), Adam (Saxophone/Clarinet), Evan (Guitar/Singing) and Carly (Singing):

The Wylie Toms

The Wylie Toms (http://www.myspace.com/wylietoms)

Being harvest time (and coincidentally the Korean Thanksgiving) we provided the most-ever-delectable sandwiches: Seasoned turkey betwixt baguettes from Blue Ribbon Bakery smothered in a butternut-and-orange-rind squash puree, replete with caramelized shallots reduced in a scrumptious red-wine reduction (by Danielle Florio of The Whisk & Ladle Supper Club – check out her blog: saucylittledish) and the tastiest mouth-watering Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies, and Mexican Wedding Cookies by Amanda Wells of SweetWells.

So look, okay, the evening was great. I presented a Harvest Play, with Brian Quinn playing the role of President Nixon (relevant to the Schramsberg story) and I played myself. People ate turkey and brownies and cookies and drank some power-house California wines… so let’s talk about the wines. Our good friend, Jesse Salazar, of Union Square Wines consulted with me on the wines to serve.

The Schramsberg was my favorite. I rate wines through my Connoisseur Rating System (CRS) from -350 to Infiinity. The 2005 vintage produces delicate bubbles prompting me to consider a new bubble-bath formula that effervesces and makes you feel tipsy after your bath. CRS Rating: 18,456,777,444,444,345,543,123,321,678,000.

The Calera was the crowd-pleaser. The winemaker, Josh Jensen, worked at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, among other impressive places in and around Burgundy and had found some limestone in the Central Coast—which is where the Pinot grapes that produced this wine are grown within. CRS Rating: A bunch of 9’s strung together.

Mighty Rombauer was mighty tannic, and we all agreed this wine would be amazing in five more years. Lots of fruit like: Pumpkin and Rosemary, Shallots and Butternut Squash, Powdered sugar, and—–wait—-that was my mouthful of turkey, brownie and cookie. Let’s call it a blend CRS Rating: Five 10 Millions.

Monsieur Foley. His wines exude these chocolate and dark black cherry aromas and flavors, and one hopes it will never end. In fact, I still detect hints of it in the recesses of my mouth—talk about a finish, it’s still going days later. CRS Rating: Honorary Infinity (Because I like the label so much).

And then… this “little” bottle of delightfulness:

2004 Girard "Artistry" - signed by the winemaker

2004 Girard “Artistry” – signed by winemaker Marco DiGiulio

This three-liter Jeroboam (double-magnum) was the highlight of the night. Very exciting pour action, as I demanded everyone line up and come to me for a taste rather than my going to them as had been the case throughout the evening.

When everyone in the room had the Girard elixir in their glass we practiced our final Kevin Zraly inspired “60 Second Wine Expert” experience: First, sip the wine, swallow to remove any other tastes. Then smell the wine three times. Then, take a good mouthful and swirl around for 3-5 seconds, swallow and think about the wine for 60 seconds. “Shut up!” I exclaimed, “Think about what you’re experiencing.”

And surely we were all experiencing a spicy, fruity, elegantly smooth Bordeaux blend that did indeed take us out with a bang. The wine changed in the glass after some time, opened up to reveal a plethora of flavors. I had visited Girard’s tasting room in Yountville back in early September and the wonderful Erin Luby, who runs ship at the tasting room, worked with me on selecting a big bottle that would certainly make a show for this event. Luckily, the day she shipped the wine, winemaker Marco DiGiulio was present and signed the bottle. Opening a bottle that size was a first for most everyone in the room. It’s the final bout of rapid-fire fireworks at the end of every skylit fireworks celebration, and helped end our Harvest Party with enough of its nectar to go around the room a couple times.

We at the Noble Rot wish we could be in Napa harvesting alongside the men and women who make this country grape. The evening can be summed up by resident Whisk & Ladle bartender, Nick Bennett, who said: “Dude, I’m telling my mom about this.” And I hope he does. I hope everyone tells their mom about the Noble Rot, because we don’t fool around. You like to fool around? Call us and we’ll tell you all about how we don’t fool around. In fact, we don’t fool around so much that we pretty much only fool around. The Noble Rot. It’s a secret. Don’t tell anyone about this, except for your moms and your friends and everyone you may or may not know.

Fun links:

www.unionsquarewines.com

www.girardwinery.com

Host - Jonny Cigar

Host – Jonny Cigar

Danielle and a few remaining Turkey's......

Danielle and a few remaining Turkey’s……

Christine, Amanda Wells (SweetWells), Paul

Christine, Amanda Wells (SweetWells), Paul

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