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April 23, 2011 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley

Just a quick post to say that if you’re in Napa and haven’t been to Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley we highly recommend it as a destination. I stop in there every time I’m in town, sometimes twice a day – first to say hi to friends, second to pretend I’m an eccentric art collector looking for that impossibly perfect piece of art… (they have it… fantastic collections that are refreshed frequently).  They carry an array of Artisanal wines and art that will leave you in high spirits and truly inspired. Especially try …Blackbird, a Pomerol inspired wine. We poured Ma(i)sonry’s proprietary red wine for the Michelin Guide release parties you may have heard about.


September 28, 2009 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Ma(i)sonry, Pride Mountain, Cheers! St. Helena

We begin this post with a Wine Poem:


I dreamed of a man standing

In the hallway with a corkscrew

Who was going to open up all the wine

I don’t own and I begged him not to do it

but he didn’t listen and then there was grape juice

all over the kitchen floor and all I could hear was the sound

the WinedOWirl makes — guttural and gurgling.

That was interesting, huh? Now we move on to bigger and better things that look like Vineyards, Stone Buildings, and Parties……………..

Feast your eyes on this photo below!


Jonny C & Thys-Jan Tepper at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville, CA

This from Ma(i)sonry’s website:

Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley offers a unique lifestyle experience in wine country. Originally built in 1904 as a private residence, the manor is one of three stone buildings in Yountville, and one of only two listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The setting is reminiscent of a home or a private club, framing a highly edited collection of furnishings and artwork. The furnishings, ranging from 16th century to mid-twentieth century, are paired with contemporary works crafted by today’s top designers. The collections of art on display include Napa Valley favorites, the best in the Bay Area as well as some of the most respected names worldwide, all of which will be available for purchase.

I can vouch for this – I do feel indeed as though I am in a manor and when they bring out the wine, I feel like a Lord of the manor and you will too if you check out what they have on their roster – because it’s fantastic.

I learned of Ma(i)sonry one eve dining at Cavallo Point in Sausalito just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. Relegated to the bar, awaiting a table, my fiancee and I struck up conversation with a fabulous couple, Thys-Jan, or “Tie,” and Erin. Tie was just starting at Ma(i)sonry and we had a great time chatting about the new venture and how much he and Erin love living in Napa. (Who wouldn’t!?) We made plans to have some wine together next time Amanda and I would find ourselves in Napa (which happened to be our wedding this past August).

Cavallo Point is important to mention because that night we had ordered a Robert Foley 2005 Merlot off the list and the Sommelier was so apologetic: he had just sold his last bottle. I nearly erupted with rage!! however he returned with a fanciful looking creature which he assured us was double the price and “very good,” and it must have been because he was drooling at the thought of decanting the beast. A simple, elegant white label with a flock of birds swooping up and off into the green of the bottle, we were introduced to Blackbird.


This was delicious. Luscious. Smooth. Fruity. Smelled like a stack of a billion dollar bills and was the color of every perfectly cooked steak from here to around the world and back again. I wanted to guzzle it, and did, and made Amanda drive home.

At the time Ma(i)sonry was just getting off the ground and apart from their antique art items, they were setting themselves up as a tasting haven and had one proprietary wine and it happened to be Blackbird. You can bet the farm I told Tie that I thought the connection was wild. We accidentally tasted the very wine we could only get (at the time) from where Tie would be wielding antique swords and skulls from the Ma(i)sonry Manor just up the road from The French Laundry. Never mind that everything you see there is for sale, from the chairs you sit in to the tables your wine glass rests upon to the wine glass you are sipping your wine from to yes, of course, the wine. Never mind because one glass of Blackbird and you’ll think you’re Edgar Allen Poe, or something of the like.

And their selection has expanded to include The Brown Estate, Husic Vineyards, Lail Vineyards, Pedras Wine Company, Renteria Wines, and Tor Kenwood Family Wines. I’d be happy to rant and rave about all these wines and if you run into me, I will, I promise. Tasting flights are about $35 smackers and you feel real fine when you’re through. So fine, you might just buy the hammock you’d been eying for the last ten minutes. And if you do, say to Tie, thanks and tell him Jonny sent you but don’t expect him to pour you anything else, because my glass is empty and it’s my turn!

I would highly recommend a visit and then a casual stroll down the street to the French Laundry Garden where you can, when no one is watching, pick some herbs, and imagine how much you would have spent on the very green in your hand had you dined inside the little stone temple that is French and is full of French Laundry…


I’d promised I’d speak of Pride Mountain as well and Cheers! St. Helena, and I will in brief: Pride was fantastic and my hero wine-maker Robert Foley reigned supreme leader of Pride for a long time, and he churned out an amazingly awesome wine which is certainly full of Pride. The land straddles the Sonoma and Napa county line and I learned that wine coming from soil on one side is taxed differently than wine coming from the other side – WILD. Laws are so fantastical. They are awe-inspiring. They take something silly and make it legally silly. I can’t compete. Well, we tasted and enjoyed and the views are a bunch of amazing nonsense. I’m also convinced that a scene from Bottle Shock was shot there. I am convinced.

Cheers! St. Helena is a wild event that happens the first Friday of every month in the town of St. Helena. They close off the streets and bands show up and nearly 75 wineries show up and you pay a pass to get in and then go wine-wild. You can also pay a little more to go to the vineyards participating and drink in their palaces upon their hills all the livelong day. It’s worth checking out, though the music is a bit, how shall I put this… how about another one of these “…” — that should do it. Go for the wine. What did you think I was going to suggest? I have a suggestion: enjoy these tannic photos!

Pride Mountain Tasting Room - Wines on Display

Pride Mountain Tasting Room - Wines on Display

Pide's Caves - rows upon rows of silver-dollar winecakes!

Pride's Caves - rows upon rows of silver-dollar winecakes!