There are few people who know more about grand cru Burgundy than Robert Bohr. But what does a self-professed wine snob do when the wine list at his new restaurant, Charlie Bird, will focus on affordable Italian bottles? His answer: Hold an emergency wine summit. And make sure to invite his wife.
That’s because Bohr’s wife, Jordan Salcito, is also a sommelier (she’s the wine director for David Chang’s Momofuku group). What’s more, she’s the proprietor of Bellus wines, which emphasizes great, inexpensive bottlings from France and Italy. Salcito’s taste is less rigorously high-end than that of her husband, who has worked almost exclusively at places known for serious, rarefied wine lists, among them New York City’s Daniel, Babbo and the now-shuttered Cru. Though Bohr courted Salcito with his Burgundies, the truth is that she’s more likely to open an offbeat, organic white from Italy’s Lazio region, for instance, from a vineyard owned by Cistercian nuns.
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Bohr knew he needed a strong selection of wines in the $50 and under zone for Charlie Bird, which is one of New York’s most anticipated openings. Bohr’s partner is celebrated chef Ryan Hardy, formerly of Aspen, Colorado’s Montagna at The Little Nell hotel. Hardy’s style of cooking is Italian, with a strong local and seasonal bent. Incorporating local produce is his forte—in 2007, for instance, when he couldn’t find good arugula and artichokes in Aspen, he launched the 27-acre Rendezvous Farm, and grew his own.