By Jonathan Cristaldi

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February 21, 2013 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

How to Drink at a Wine Bar


The American wine palate is growing up, and so too are the standards for what constitutes a good wine-drinking experience at a bar. While most watering holes have a few bottles at the ready, to get the good stuff you’re going to brave a wine bar. The genre carries with it plenty of stereotypes—many of them born in the ’90s—about snooty sommeliers, marked-up prices, and dudes with mustaches pronouncing panino with an Italian accent.

Thankfully, the game is changing. Wine bars are… (read more at First We Feast).



January 3, 2013 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Let Me Upgrade You: The 10 Champagnes Rappers Should Be Drinking

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Champagne: the ultimate symbol of celebrity, fame and fortune. Those who top Forbes’ various lists of the richest people in the world bathe in it, and the hip-hop community has certainly embraced it a choice beverage for both drinking and spraying on video vixens.

But when it comes to popping bottles, rappers are stuck in a dull holding pattern. Dom Pérignon, Cristal, and Moët—plus the odd rosé—are pretty much the only sparklers that get any love, unless you’re rolling with Jay-Z, who pushes the gaudy, gold-bottled Armand de Brignac (ne Ace of Spades). There’s nothing wrong with these wines, but a little diversity wouldn’t go amiss.

When it comes to bubbly, having good taste can actually mean spending less money, not more, since you avoid the hype and price gauging. With New Year’s Eve around the corner… READ MORE.

November 19, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Thanksgiving Scenarios and Wines That Will Make You Shine

This, from First We Feast:

For Turkey Day wine suggestions that get to the heart of the matter, we called up our favorite wine pro, Jonathan Cristaldi, and asked him to make a pick for each of the potential scenarios one might encounter over the holiday. From his slightly insane mind—and always on-point palate—straight to you, here are the wines that will have family, in-laws, friends, and strangers crowning you king next Thursday.

And you are invited to read my scandalous scenario-recommends… read here.

October 18, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Top 5 French Wines Your Father Drank and Why

Courtesy of

When it came to vino, turns out dad was a goddamn boss. Here’s how to be more like him.

Imagine a world where common television commercials featured wine, Chianti came proudly in straw baskets, and Liebfraumilch (mother’s milk)—a sweet, simple, inexpensive German wine—was in vogue. Prior to the infamous 1976 Paris tasting, in which a panel of reputable tasters awarded first place to a California red and white wine, most of Americans were not convinced there was much quality in domestic wine. Most were drinking sweet mouth-puckering concoctions that came by the gallon and whether these fermented juices paired well with dinner was of little consequence. But then, there wasyour dad.

He’d been to France. He’d taken a wine class in college and had friends whose parents referred to their wines merely by vintage—the “55s,” “59s,” and “61s.” This man, the patriarch and protector of a carefully curated family wine stash, would bring to the dinner table bottles of red wine sporting labels riddled with foreign words.

Read Full Article on First We Feast.

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

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