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About this Episode

Wine educator and certified sommelier Alexis Rogers joins Robert Tas to discuss the wine list of Charlie Bird. Alexis shares her knowledge on pairings and terroir as she explores Spanish wines on the list, including some of the most coveted bottles of incredibly pure, honest wines, hand-picked, foot crushed, with minimal intervention and no chemicals. They also travel over to the Italian, Austrian and Czech Republican sections of the list where they discover a few exceptional bottles and we learn why the wine industry in the Czech Republic is experiencing a renaissance.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2017 Miani Friulano from Friuli-Venezia Giulia
  • Riesling from Austria by Weingut Jager
  • 2017 ‘Migan’ Tinto from Tenerife
Transcript: Charlie Bird

Charlie Bird 

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules!

I’m your host Robert Tas along with Alexis Rogers, wine educator and  restaurant sommelier

Hi Alexis, thanks for being back with us on another episode of CorkRules, - a podcast where we help simplify and demystify the wine lists at some of your favorite restaurants. We talk with certified sommeliers and wine professionals who point out interesting bottles, classic food and wine pairings, hidden gems,  value wines, or splurge wines that will take your dining experience over the top.

AR: Always a pleasure, Robert. Thanks for having me back!

RT:  Today we are taking a look at the list at the perennially hip Charlie Bird in Soho. It’s a project from Chef Ryan Hardy and Sommelier Robert Bohn. Described as “Italian Accented American”, Charlie Bird has a solid reputation for excellent service, awesome pastas and a wine list that has been called “a window into the NY wine zeitgeist”. I can’t wait to hear your take on it, Alexis.

AR: I can see why the wine list was described that way. It has all the wines that the people that talk about wine are talking about. This is a list that’s showing off how wild the NYC wine market is. They’re really flexing! Old World wines - especially France and Italy get the VIP treatment on this list. Every subregion in Burgundy and the Northern Rhone is well represented as well as every wine region in Italy, with a focus on barolos and barbarescos. I did find the Spanish Reds section interesting though.


RT : Well, I think Spanish reds are always interesting but what specifically about it piqued your interest?


AR: Most of the selections in the category come from one producer - Envinate. They focus on mostly native grapes especially coming out of Ribiera Sacra and the Canary Islands. Their wines are all hand-picked, grown without the use of any chemicals, crushed by foot and are made with minimal intervention - they are incredibly pure, honest Spanish wines. I’ve selected the 2017 ‘Migan’ Tinto from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The grape here is Listan Negro and it produces medium-bodied, low tannin wines with relatively high acidity. We get red cherry and strawberry flavors with spicy, smokey notes and a curious distinctive banana flavor. These wines are similar to those coming out of Beaujolais and would be incredible with the Parma di Prosciutto small plate.

RT: I love opening a bottle of Beaujolais and sitting down to a charcuterie board so this pairing makes sense. I’m going to have to swap that out with this wine!

AR: Spanish wines are really on the upswing right now and are slowly becoming more easily accessible to those of us outside Spain and I’m here for it! Speaking of wines that are hard to get. I was really excited to see this next one on the list. It’s the 2017 Miani Friulano from Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This bottling is one of the most coveted - and therefore most expensive- wines in the region. Miani makes 700 cases of wine a year and only 15% of that is Friulano (aka Sauvignon Vert). This grape gives us concentrated flavors of kiwi and antique rose, pear, peach, herbaceous tarragon, crushed gravel and a hint of bitter almond. Bitter almond is characteristic of a lot of white wines from Northern Italy. Pair this with the Local Burrato with Rhubarb Jam.

RT: Antique rose!? What an oddly specific descriptor!


AR: I know! But when you taste it, you’ll say “that is EXACTLY what that is!”

This last wine is one of my favorite grapes from one of my favorite places. Like most things in our world, wine is all about location, location, location. A grape from 2 different regions can taste nothing like each other.  As you drink more wines from more places, you’ll start to recognize which region’s “style” you like across multiple varieties. The Riesling grape is one of the most location-specific grapes out there. I chose a bottle of Riesling from Austria by Weingut Jager.  Austrian Riesling is not German Riesling with its rich fruit and delicate floral notes, and it’s not NY Riesling that’s all about that wild petrol - Austrian Riesling is tense and taught and precise - a ballerina on a tight line. They are super citrusy and minerally. Imagine a frozen lake of lime juice. The wines from Weingut Jaeger, especially those from the Steinriegl Terraces where this bottle is from, are characterized by tightness and minerality. This bottle would pair beautifully with the Cavatelli Campidenese. Dry Riesling and sausage are one of my absolute favorite pairings.

RT: They’re a match made in Central European Heaven! Speaking of Central Europe, I saw a bottle on this list from the Czech Republic! Can you tell us a little bit about that?

AR: I saw that too! I was super stoked to see Czech Republic wines represented here. The region has been making wine since the 2nd century but like most countries in that region, being in the sphere of influence of the USSR destroyed their quality wine production. But after the fall of the USSR and with the establishment of modern wine laws in 1995, quality winemaking has returned in a big way! This bottle is from producer Milan Nestarec. The “Podfuck Red” is an elegant blend of mostly Blaufrankish with a small amount of PN. Blaufrankisch is a beautiful grape, producing elegant, medium-bodied wines with significant tannins and acidity. Our tasting notes here are blackberry and black cherry, black pepper, dark chocolate and spicy ginger and allspice. Wines from these recovering and lesser-known regions are a great value and usually drink way above their modest price tags. Pair this with the Garlic and Sesame Hangar Steak to moderate some of those tannins.

RT: What an interesting find! Alexis, thank you for talking about some of the hip, cool bottles on the list at Charlie Bird with us today! To our audience, Thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to:

Info@corkrules.com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists or wherever you get your podcasts.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.




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