for August, 2009

August 12, 2009 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot (event): Chardonnay $#!@ Storm


It was indeed, a noble rot this Tuesday last in the year of this the two-thousands and some nine. Chardonnay with its golden hew and hubris never humbled by my loud and incessant whaling, and I don’t mean Moby D! It was joyously a $#!@ storm. Listen: We tasted six different Chardonnays:

  1. Parigot & Ruchard NV Blanc de Blancs | Sparkling | CRS Rating: 6,788,450,320
  2. Shoofly 2007 Chardonnay ‘Chook Raffle’ | Steel aged new world | CRS Rating: 9,567,450
  3. Gilbert Picq 2008 Chablis | Simple French | CRS Rating: 734
  4. Boccata 2007 Chardonnay | American dry | CRS Rating: -13
  5. David Ramey 2006 Chardonnay ‘Hyde Vineyard’ | American refined | CRS Rating: 10,345,657,112,390,476
  6. Mar Colin 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet ‘Encignieres’ | French refined CRS Rating: 89,994,936,945,900,995,333,234,009,002,884

Jesse Warner-Levine of New York Vintners poured with a mighty vibrato while arousing total enthusiasm for the wines served, and offered subtle but subjective insight into selecting wines “on your own.” I read the Great Gatsby start to finish and gave a lesson in blending wine. I found an open bottle of red under a kitchen sink and with the Chablis of the evening, blended in a marvelously stainless steel blender, my own Grand Cru. No one but Jesse would try it with me, and we both found the nose to be moldy and unsanitary while I found some fresh cut grass.

I am a firm believer that most who, until last evening shunned Chardonnay, now are willing to embrace its succulent, sometimes subtle sometimes boisterous bouquet of caramels, hazelnuts, asparagus, fresh churned butter, and all the colors under the rainbow. The delights of the evening were the Parigot, the Ramey, and the Encignieres. I however preferred the flask of whisky, tucked casually into my inside jacket pocket.

We did falter however in not discussing Malolactic Fermentation, and that is Brian Quinn’s fault, I’m sure.

Malolactic fermentation tends to create a rounder, fuller mouthfeel. It has been said that malic acid tastes of green apples – indeed, malic comes from the Latin word for apple (mālum) and is present in apple juice – and this can be tasted in the wine. By contrast, lactic acid is richer, even unctuous, and more buttery tasting – corresponding to its presence in milk, as reflected in the word lactic being derived from the Latin word for milk (lac), and it is present in sour milk. To read more about MF, check out the Wikipedia Entry cuz it’s not half bad, but don’t trust everything Mr. Wiki tells you.

Blues/alt-country singer/guitarist, Osei Essed & Will Orzo of THE WOES jammed the winos into stringy accordianopic heaven.

Please enjoy these tasty pictures below where you’ll see the ABC-crowd-mentality slip quietly into the darkness of the night.


Jonny Cigar | Master of Ceremonies



More Winos

More Winos

Osei & Will (of the WOES)

Osei & Will (of the WOES)



Jesse Warner-Levine - Talking To France

Jesse Warner-Levine – Talking To France

Brian Quinn and A Lovely Lady in Red

Brian Quinn and A Lovely Lady in Red

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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