That Wine Lyfe: Grant Reynolds of Charlie Bird, NYC

Americas sommeliers have access to some of the best wines in the world. But what are they drinking off duty? Welcome to "That Wine Lyfe," the drink diary of America's wine pros.

grant reynolds sommelier

Grant Reynolds is fully committed to his morning green juice and macchiato routine. But that is where the rituals end. The 25-year-old sommelier at Charlie Bird spends the rest of his day drinking across a full gamut of wine, beer and spirits with the sort of open-minded approach you might expect from the sommelier at a restaurant that serves some of the world’s finest wines set to a soundtrack featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.

Before moving to New York to join the opening team at Charlie Bird, Reynolds spent three years at Frasca in Boulder, CO, a restaurant that’s become a feeder for some of the country’s top sommeliers. In between that formative experience and his current gig, he worked harvest at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy and spent two months working front of house at Noma.

When asked about how life in Boulder compares to life in New York, he thinks for second, searching for the through-line: “Well I drank a lot in Boulder. And I drink a lot now.”

An imaginary day in the life (a composite based on actual habits) goes something like this: a glass of champagne during lunchtime meetings, a pre-shift margarita from El Toro Blanco, mandatory sips of all wines opened during dinner service and Campari and grapefruit juice after work at Big Bar (his East Village local). Beer—Negra Modelo, Reissdorf Kölsch or a pilsner, specifically—also routinely finds its way into the mix as well, often over fried chicken at Blue Ribbon.

We asked Reynolds to keep track of what he drank for a week and give us a short list of the best wines he stumbled across. Here’s the damage:

Burlotto Pelaverga 2012 | $20
“Levi Dalton got some sommeliers together to taste a bunch of wines from Verduno, a lesser-known commune in Barolo. Amidst a strong line-up of nebbiolo, this wine, made from the relatively obscure pelaverga grape, stood out. Cheap, geeky, delicious stuff.”

Domaine U Stiliccionu Antica 2011 |  $30
“Corsica’s all the rage, right? On Sunday, I had brunch with some friends and while I don’t normally drink red for brunch, this wine rocked. I don’t know anything about it other than the fact that it’s very easy to slurp when hungover.”

Domaine du Pelican Arbois Savagnin Ouille 2012 | $45
“I dig some of the funkier stuff from the Jura, but this wine, from famed Burgundy producer Marquis d’Angerville’s new estate, really hits the spot. It’s more similar to white Burgundy than it is to the style of wine that we now associate with the Jura.”

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Orizeaux NV (2008) | $90
“Valentine’s Day causes us all to drink too much… I dipped out of the restaurant just after the last guest came in and had this with my girlfriend at her place. (I think his wines are the best values in Champagne.) That wasn’t enough though. Conveniently my girl lives above a great beer shop on Orchard Street called Top Hops. They sell my go-to domestic beer: Peeper Ale from Maine Brewery. I had a few of those before the night was over.”

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