August 2, 2009 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot (event): The Best $10-Wines Your $10-Bills Can Buy


Photo by Terry Girard

After all this wine-uh-muh-jigging, I decided to do something about it: Contrary to your hopes, it was not an intervention. Instead, I called Brian Quinn and told him that we were starting a wine club. I told him that this club was going to be a secret (“Underground,” is what I said). I kept winking at him and smirking as if he’d know what I was getting at, however since we were talking on the phone, he took the silence to mean that his iPhone gave out again, and hung up.

The idea of the club is simple: I love wine, you love wine, we all love wine – BUT – we don’t know all that much about it (present company more than included). So, I sat down one fine afternoon and made a plan:

The Plan:

Start hosting events as a wine club called “the noble rot” and incorporate a live musical and theatrical element with the hope that some knowledge is gained through overt and systematic stimulation.

So we gave definition to the club:

the noble rot | ðē; ðə ˈnōbəl rät |

1 a wine club.
2 a moveable feast.
3 a place to learn about wine (esp. while drinking wine).
4 informal performances.

5 mix socially with others.

And then we got corking:

Our first event, featuring The Best $10-wines your $10-bills Can Buy from California to New Zealand, will take place on a ROOF in Williamsburg on Saturday, July 25th. Here’s what you can expect:

Beginning at 7:00pm, we will serve a delicious wine as you stroll about le grande rooftop and take in sweeping city views. While indulging in hors d’oeuvres, information on the featured wines we will be offered up as a potential for learning. Either way, we’ll be drinking throughout the evening.

Our esteemed sommelier and friend, Damian Gutierrez, from Cabrini Wines (, will prove to be our knowledgeable guide, while I do my best to make wise-cracks.

Nearing 7:30pm, the evening will commence with a special, never-before heard monologue from Jonny Cigar, replete with built-in-applause (just in case).

Pouring, tasting, and talking will ensue – and if some of the chatter is wine-chatter, we’ll all be better for it. We will focus on five different wines from around the world, with generous pours, leaving just enough room in the glass to swirl. In addition, during various wine tasting intervals, Mr. Cigar will show three short films of his own device, all shot recently in France.



And blamo! Fun times were had by all 50 people who showed up over the course of two to three hours. We learned that $10-wines can be amazing if you know where to look. We were even joined by two owners of O.C.D., one of the wines we served, Melissa Monti Saunders and her husband Dan ( And later, Ramon A. Del Monte of Tempranillo, joined us and contributed a rare champagne from Muga, that until this past year has never been released to the public, and may never again (they simply had too much left over to drink themselves!)

Well, we’re on our way to event number two: Chardonnay $#!@ Storm – hoping to dispel the bad wrap Chardonnay has received over the years since California turned it into a malolactic butter bomb (A.B.C. Anything But Chardonnay)… there’s more to this white nectar of the white wine nectary wine.

Served at the July 25th event:

  • Cavas Hill Brut Reserva Rosado
  • Ocd (Otto’s Constant Dream) Sauvignon Blanc
  • Felix Lorenzo Cachazo Mania Verdejo-Viura
  • Bodegas Borsao Monte Oton Garnacha
  • Patrick Lesec Petite Crau

If you are looking to adopt any of these bottles for your own personal enjoyment, you can talk to our friend Damian, whose 2-6 ounce pour is now legendary in various Brooklyn neighborhoods, and he can help make that dream come true. ( ships free all over NYC) so hit him up:


Photo by Terry Girard

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