by Marian Betancourt
Charlie Palmer wants to be sure there is high quality, affordable wine in all of his restaurants, so he works with some of the top wineries in California to craft food-friendly high quality wines. And he has fun doing it. The ISC label stands for International Sommeliers Conspiracy and depicts blindfolded men, the sommeliers from his restaurants tasting quality "juice" behind closed doors.
"Nobody knows exactly where the juice is coming from," says Justin Lorenz, sommelier at Charlie Palmer's Aureole in Times Square, "but it results in a line of high quality wine that he is proud to serve while keeping costs reasonable." The Charlie Clay Duellist label-yes, two men dueling-represents Charlie and winemaker Clay Mauritson.
Prices for a line of reds and whites range from $22 to $60. Although not available in stores, you can order the wines through Next Vintage, an online wine shop and club. And, of course, you can try them at Charlie's two New York restaurants, Aureole and Metrazur.