One of the latest sommeliers to step off the floor and start making wines has added a great cause to her portfolio. Industry-loved Momofuku beverage director Jordan Salcito founded Bellus ("beauty" in Latin) to collaborate with some of her favorite producers on affordable, delicious terroir-driven bottles. Her latest releases include the 2013 Bellus Scopello Frappato, a lively, cherry-scented red with a great backstory. The wine’s superb in its own right, but the really cool thing about it is that Salcito is donating a portion of its sales to NomoGaia, an NGO run by her sister, Kendyl. NomoGaia is an organization that assesses and works with corporations to protect human rights around the world.
The Frappato and other Bellus selections were presented to supporters last night over a whole leg of jamon and grissini at New York's Charlie Bird, which happens to be co-owned by her husband, wine guy Robert Bohr. Learning about the Frappato, we took this opportunity to awkwardly monopolize Kendyl’s entire evening talking about her work, which has her heading off to (the country of) Jordan and Suriname this month alone—all on a mission to improve the treatment of women, workers and their communities.
Another of my favorites from the night was the 2013 La Vie en Bulles, a sparkling rosé made from Pinot Noir and Poulsard, a grape that’s native to France’s Jura but has seemingly made its way to California’s Mendocino region. Copain winemaker Wells Guthrie is Salcito’s partner on this bottling, which is inspired by my favorite ebullient Bugey-Cerdon from France. To get down to the nitty gritty of it, the wine just doesn’t want to stay in your glass. It’s fresh and juicy and happy with a (thankfully, considering how much of it I can drink) moderate alcohol level. This one is sold out at retail, but you can still find it at Momofuku group's Ma Peche in Midtown. All the wines, including her Tuscan red Girasole, are made from organically-grown grapes. It's available from Crush Wine & Spirits, Vintry Fine Wines, New York Vintners and Bottlerocket Wine & Spirits.