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September 26, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Winetology Wednesday on

Today’s Sermon: “Acid Trip

Go to to read my article.

Last bi-weekly Winetology recommendation was the 2009 RED C Cabernet Sauvignon from Covenant Winemaker Jeff Morgan. Jonny’s take: I love this wine but I’m terrified to say anything about it because I’m visiting the winemaker next week and he used to write for the Wine Spectator. I’m no fool. It’s damn good, that’s all.

This week’s Winetology Recommendation is: 2010 Val de Mer Chablis 1er Cru from Burgundy (France) retailing at about $38 per bottle and will probably be the most expensive white you’ve purchased in a while – go for it, treat yourself. Look for it at your local wine shop via

Swirl often, savor, and above all think after you drink.

– Jonny Cigar, Wine Evangelist to the Stars

September 21, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Top 7 Photos I’ve Been Meaning to Share

This was Cabernet Day 2012.

The man on the left is Matthew Kaner. He is a genius. We drank Covenant with some high, holy folks. They were wildly impressed.

This is Amanda about to rehearse at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA for the official debut of LA Dance Project, the official reason we moved West. She likes to drink wine. Good wine.

This we drank along with Mr. Benjamin Millepied sitting and talking about LA Dance Project. Yum.

Checking out Santa Ynez and Lompoc, we stayed at the Montecito Inn where Charlie’s posters are a dime a dozen.

How I wanted to steal! But did not. Within them there is Piedrassasi.

Saw this and had no idea they were making wine in Paso then!

September 5, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Winetology Wednesdays on

Holy Smokes! Holy Corks! Is it true?! My most recent post was June 15th? Faithful Winetologists hear me out:

I moved to Los Angeles mere days after the post below. I’ve just returned from a short trip to NYC to participate in #CabernetDay and that event was chronicled quite well by the lovely and talented Michelle Young of Untapped Cities – here.

About a month ago I began writing a  bi-weekly column on The Bloggery at My inaugural post is here and the second post, about #CabernetDay is here.

I hope you enjoy and you may begin once more to check here regularly for writings on all things wine, wine likely on wine. I’ll also begin writing about wine and will occasionally touch upon wine and wine culture and wine drinking and tasting and rating and likely will showcase winemakers who make wine. For now, enjoy this short video on how NOT to saber delicious bubbly:

June 15, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Jonny on Selling New York (HGTV)

JC on Selling New York (HGTV)

I had the privilege of hosting an exclusive wine tasting in Emeril Lagasse’s townhouse for the Kleier’s – the stars of Selling New York on HGTV. (See a little mention on Curbed!) See some screen shots below that I grabbed from my fancy flat-screen TV!

I wanted to feature two of my favorite wines, both of which happen to pair perfectly with Emeril’s house and style.

2007 Swanson Vineyards “Alexis” Cabernet Sauvignon. The Swanson’s hail from New Orleans – sixth generations of New Orlenians! Hence an absolute perfect pairing given Emeri’s creole cooking heritage. The wine is made by Chris Phelps who hails from Dominus and Caymus and got his start making wine under Christian Moiex at Chateau Petrus. Bam!

2009 Robert Foley Vineyards Merlot. This is a wine that tastes as good as Emeril’s townhouse looks. The multi-story UES house is laden with marble floors and elegant moldings, perfectly accentuated furniture, spiral staircase, beautifully designed kitchens — on and on – this wine had the guests feeling like they were the proud owners of such an exclusive and amazing property. Now, that’s terroir! Bam!

JC on Selling New York

Swanson and Robert Foley Vineyards on Selling New York (HGTV)

JC in Emeril Lagasse’s Kitchen on Selling New York

Swanson on Selling New York

Robert Foley Vineyards on Selling New York (HGTV)

Box ‘O Robert Foley Vineyards during setup for Selling New York

JC setting up for Selling New York

SellingNewYork JC Pouring (unmistakeable vest!)


June 13, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot: East Met West (St. Francis & Millbrook Winery)

Left to Right: Nissa Pierson (Ger-Nis), Katie Madigan (St. Francis), Chef David Santos (Um Segredo), Jonathan Cristaldi (aka Jonny Cigar of The Noble Rot) and Paul Gatti (Millbrook Vineyards & Winery).

On a recent Wednesday in June, The Noble Rot hosted an evening featuring two wineries separated by 3,000 miles of U.S. Terroir. A six-course meal set the stage for a pairing of three east-coast wines with east-coast inspired cuisine alternating with three west-coast wines paired with west-coast inspired food. The Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center, run by Nissa Pierson is a true gem in the Park Slope (4th Ave and Union Street) area. The space is a beautiful professional kitchen, outfitted for shoots or dinner parties for up to 40. Nissa hosts classes and the center is meant to evoke conversation, revelry and discovery – all the ingredients important to a successful Noble Rot affair.

Photos of the evening, courtesy of Guest of a Guest can be viewed here.

The winemakers in house were Katie Madigan of St. Francis Winery (Sonoma, California) and Paul Gatti the assistant winemaker at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery (Hudson Valley, New York State). Hit em up on TwitterLand: @millbrookwinery @stfranciswinery

Katie’s path to winemaking came from her love of science and a desire to apply her skills toward a hands-on profession, and nothing is more hands-on than winemaking! She started her wine industry career at St. Francis and has since worked her way up to winemaker. She’s particular to Burgundian style wines, and so under her direction St. Francis’s Chardonnays and being re-routed away from the typical California chardonnay we all know and love/hate. Katie’s Chardonnays are cleaner, less oaked and present a more fruit-forward style of wine. You will be surprised. I also want to say that it’s only a matter of time before we no longer can refer to Chardonnay that’s undergone malo and been given the full oak treatment as “typical” to California. Nearly every time I sit down to write about Chardonnay from California my sentences begin something like, “Straying from the typical California Chardonnay style of oak and butter…”

Then there is Gatti: Paul Gatti. No relation to the crime family, (note the spelling difference) though I pried him for information. Paul hails from Westchester where his father was making wine in the family garage – a true garagiste! Paul’s early child-hood experiences around his dad’s renegade production inspired him to pursue a professional full time career in making wine. He landed at Millbrook under the direction of John Graziano, who has been making wine at Millbrook for 27 years and is arguably the most knowledgeable person about Hudson Valley terroir and growing seasons – only second in authority to John S. Dyson, the proprietor of Millbrook.

It was a pleasure to host both Katie and Paul – both passionate professionals who have different styles and approaches to the process. Paul’s interest in the technical, factual aspects of the wine were evident as he talked about bric levels and temperature swings in harvesting whereas Katie’s science and passion blended into conversations about style and her efforts to enforce night picking (because the flavors are more concentrated in the cooler, harder evening-set grapes).

The menu was prepared by the rising alternative dining star, Chef David Santos (Um Segredo Supper Club), a former Per Se and Bouley alum. The 35 guests who attended were inspired by the marriage of wine and food and made sure to say so, loudly and with mouths full of east+west-inspired brilliance. The menu and pairings looked like this:

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