Wine lover with one night in Manhattan? Let the world’s best sommelier Arvid Rosengren at SoHo’s Charlie Bird guide, charm and pour for you.
We signed on to an open tasting by the glass option for $50 a piece, naturally putting ourselves into the Swede’s more-than-capable hands.
Star turns from an immaculate 2005 Auxey-Duresses that made my oesophagus tremble and tears well up in both eyes; a cheek-stripping 2011 Barbaresco; and a pure petrol-nose 2011 Ausele Riesling from Mosel – that was the point when a choir triumphantly burst into song (in my head).
Charlie Bird – a fun and fresh establishment with huge emphasis on the wine list and top products – has a 100-strong wine list that focuses on the Old World. However, Arvid also shared the restaurant’s Cellar Book, a lovingly hand-written notebook the Wine Team has put together that’s aimed at “wine geeks” looking for something special for the weekend or indeed any other night. Gems include a 1993 La Tache Grand Cru ($5500) and a 1978 Hermitage Blanc ($900) as well as spectacular Champagne vintages such as Tattinger 1984 (I forget the price).
The black sea bass sashimi was a delight, lightly bathed in green almond and Manni oil which was an excellent match for the fragrant Domaine de la Pépière: “People always forget to drink Muscadet, which is a shame,” said Arvid. Never a truer word spoken.
The Barbaresco was a great match for the meaty spring morels with green garlic and tagliatelle; the fungi held up well against the burly Nebbiolo though the red had a mild punch-up against the slightly peppered Tuscan suckling pig, both looking to be in charge.
And of course, a laid-back ambience as promised by Arvid at the Best Sommelier of the World Contest 2016, featuring rolled-up shirt sleeves, jeans and trainers. It’s all true, folks.
Epic tasting session. Thank you, Arvid and team, for a splendid evening. A true must for wine lovers everywhere.