for April, 2015

April 14, 2015 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Way, Way, Way Up: Tasting Wine with a Billionaire at 30,000 Feet

This is the story of the time I—along with a small group of the most powerful wine buyers in Las Vegas—was invited to join Terry Peabody, owner of Craggy Range winery, aboard his private jet. It was a sunny Tuesday, a week before Thanksgiving, and we were still in Las Vegas aboard Peabody’s Falcon 7X Jet on an executive tarmac around 10am. We had a reservation for lunch in Pebble Beach at noon, and later that same evening a dinner reservation back in Vegas at db Brasserie in The Venetian. This was the big idea: experience wine at different elevations with only one rule: Try not to let go of your wine glass.

That rule was truly important because the glasses were heavy crystal goblets that looked like this… keep reading on

[This article first appeared on First We Feast on March 19, 2015]

April 14, 2015 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

10 Dirty Secrets of Wine (That Nobody Wants to Talk About)

More of your friends probably drink wine more regularly than craft beer or cocktails. Yet somehow, no one seems to want to talk about Grenache as much as session IPAs or their new obsession with Boulevardiers. And therein lies wine’s greatest failing: Pretty much everyone loves it, but the beverage has become so encumbered with stigma—deserved or otherwise—that its sex appeal is suffering.

Something is rotten in the State of Vino, and it’s not just old grapes. Lurking beneath the problems consumers encounter with the wine industry (price gamesmanship, perceptions of snobbery, et al.), there are even more sinister forces at play. From in-fighting among critics and bloggers, to production shortcuts that undermine the art of winemaking, these are the things that insiders try to hide from the public so that they don’t grow even moredisillusioned with the wine world.

No more of that in 2015: It’s time to let the darker side of wine bubble over—as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will be reminding us soon, transparency is the only way we’re going to get the change we deserve. In the spirit of a new year, let’s get into the things wine folks really talk about when the magnums are drained and…keep reading on

[This article first appeared on First We Feast on January 15, 2015 and caused quite a stir. Even the San Francisco Chronicle wine editor, Jon Bonné shared the article with his Facebook followers, prompting heated debate, but it was too “trollish” for him, and he eventually deleted all the good comments. Not to worry… I’ve posted some screen shots below. Enjoy.]





April 14, 2015 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Complete Girls’ Guide to Drinking Wine in 2015

Colleen Fleming spent years cooking in Napa restaurants (Roux and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen), then worked for her family’s winery Kelly Fleming Wines selling their cult estate Cabernets. Aubrey Bailey also cooked in Napa restaurants (Redd and Julia’s Kitchen), then worked her way up from food runner to sommelier at a place that goes by the name of The French Laundry.

In July of 2014, they teamed up to open Cadet Wine and Beer Bar, which has garnered much praise.

Fleming and Bailey are incredibly bright and motivated young upstarts from the Napa Valley—two powerful women with a keen entrepreneurial drive to highlight…keep reading on

[This article first appeared on on April 3, 2015]

April 14, 2015 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Guys’ Guide to Drinking Wine in 2015 with Taken Wine Co

Last year, the United States downed roughly 1.3 million more bottles of vino than the French. That effectively pulls the U.S. into the lead as the world’s biggest consumer of wine.

This year, your inner oenophile deserves some attention. That includes a plan to seek out new wines from yet unexplored regions, staple wines to bring to dinner parties, wines that will impress in-laws (or potential in-laws) and some guidance on vintage wines you might have cellared—or have access to—that are ready to drink.

To help shed light on these tasks and more, we pegged Josh Phelps and Carlo Trinchero, two energetic movers and shakers from Napa Valley. Phelps and Trinchero make wines under their Taken Wine Co. label, and in the past year alone have been… keep reading on


[This article first appeared on on March 27, 2015]

April 14, 2015 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Champagne for Fools with Matthew Kaner

Pour it up, people: Champagne should be an all-the-time drink. But it’s especially appropriate this time of year, as everyone bops from holiday party to holiday party. Time to get some expert advice on the sparkly stuff, and Matthew Kaner, wine director and co-owner of Los Angeles’ Covell, has all the right answers. He debunked a few myths and threw out surprising insights, from the correct glassware (hint: it’s not a flute) to why popping a cork should be like passing gas…keep reading on

[This article first appeared on on December 12, 2014]