Yes, he’s one of the most dynamic people working in the wine trade today. And he and Grant Reynolds (above, left) run one of the sexiest wine programs in New York at Charlie Bird.
But Robert and I shared a unique experience many years ago that I knew he would remember as fondly as I did.
Back in 1998, before Ruth Reichl reviewed it for the New York Times, before anyone could imagine the explosion in interest in Italian wines across the U.S., Babbo was just a small à-la-carte Italian restaurant opened off Washington Square by two ambitious New York restaurant professionals.
I’ll never forget the first time I dined there that year and met Robert, who was the restaurant’s very first wine director.
He and I were both starting out in the business, he as a sommelier, me as a wine writer, and neither of us could imagine the wine revolution that was going to take shape.
The first thing he said to me when we met up at the festival was: “I remember that night you came into Babbo. Isn’t amazing how much changed since then?”
It was the quiet before the storm.
Robert is a super cool dude and I loved chatting and tasting with him at the festival. And it was amazing to hear him speak at the D’Angerville seminar.