Meet the Rosémaker: Jordan Salcito
Jordan Salcito is in a league of awesome all her own. The ultimate boss ladé, she has Bellus, her wine company that releases the whimsical La Ve En Bulles sparkling Rosé from California, and Ramona, the most buzzed about pink grapefruit wine spritzer that even has its own manicure based on the electric packaging. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface. When she’s not juggling two growing wine companies she’s working as the wine director of Momofuku, is a Mom to the most adorable little boy, Henry, and supports other women entrepreneurs (like us) and social causes close to her heart. It almost seems unreal that she does all of this, but she does and with impeccable style. Seriously, we want to raid her closet as much as her wine collection. It’s with great pleasure that we feature this ultimate girl crush on the site!
What’s your backstoré with wine? Wine held an allure for me growing up because it was the connective tissue between my Dad and his Father (who I never met). My Dad used to help my Grandfather make (terrible) wine in their basement; that’s the one memory of his Father my Dad shares. I never envisioned wine would become a career until after a six-month stage cooking at Restaurant Daniel, which led to working the La Paulée de Nièges in Aspen, which led to the opportunity to harvest in Burgundy in 2006. Burgundy is so connected to its lineage; working that harvest was an insane education about soil and terroir, history and lineage, and the cumulative impact of every tiny decision in a wine’s final profile. I was hooked! After that, I continued to work harvest each fall. The milestone moments included a summer a sommelier gig at Nick & Toni’s (thank you Bonnie Munshin, thank you Liz), sommelier and manager positions at Eleven Madison Park, a year-stint at Crown (my first top-to-bottom wine program), and then beverage director at Momofuku.
Tell us all about your Bellus Rosés: Oh goodness – Bellus rosés came to life as a collaboration with Michael Cruse (SF Chronicle winemaker of the year in 2016 and just an incredibly lovely human). Before making rosé, Bellus produced three wines in Italy – collaborations with small, traditional estates in Sicily, Campania and Tuscany. Our tenants for those bottlings have always been organically farmed grapes, wines that taste like the place where they’re grown, and a model that allows us to donate a percentage of proceeds to organizations that inspire us, including NomoGaia and The Tory Burch Foundation. But we felt like it would be interesting to break some rules in CA and attempt to make a Bugey-Cerdon-inspired wine domestically, since Bugey-Cerdon has long been a guilty pleasure and a domestic example didn’t exist. Rajat Parr introduced Michael and me, and we produced our first collaboration, La Vie en Bulles, in 2015. We made only 100 cases but we’ll make a few more this year! Michael found an incredible vineyard site in the Sierra Foothills where we’re sourcing the Pinot Noir grapes.
A UK-based illustrator friend, Emily Robertson, designed our label. She is whimsical and talented and her illustrations just bring such joy to anyone who gets to see them! Bugey-Cerdon is a joy-inducing wine, so an upbeat illustrated label seemed perfectly aligned with our vision for the wine.
As for tasting notes – drink it (truly) any time of day, from 10am until late at night. It’s lower in alcohol (about 9.5% abv) and slightly off-dry. It’s refreshing on its own and great with everything from French fries to crudité to a bowl of fresh raspberries. To me, the wine tastes of fresh berries, limestone, rose petals and white cherries, with a bit of lime.
Ramona, your sparkling wine cooler, is full of rosé vibes (it’s like rosé’s bff). How do the two relate? When do you like to open a bottle of wine vs cracking open a can of Ramona? Such a good question. We like to think of Ramona as “wine without rules.” Ramona is super portable (packaged in a 250ml aluminum slim can) and for us it’s sort of the ultimate embodiment of high/low. We felt like the (extinct) wine cooler of the 1980s/90s had some unrealized potential and needed a major makeover, so we decided to reinvent it with a base of organic Sicilian grapes and natural grapefruit. We aimed for a love child of a Mimosa and an Aperol spritz – something refreshing, but not too sweet. As for when to open it… I’ve been drinking it as a beer replacement at ballgames, at the beach, in the bathtub. Though Ramona can get fancy, too, if you pour it over ice in a Zalto glass and garnish it with some fresh Chamomile flowers!
Where’s your favorite place to stop and drink the rosé? It’s hard not to say Charlie Bird or Pasquale Jones. I am biased of course — hubby Robert Bohr is a partner at both — but the service, wine selection, and overall experience are without question some of the best in the world.
Who would you most like to have a glass with? Chelsea Clinton
When you aren’t drinking rosé or Ramona what’s your go-to summer drink? Aperol Spritz
What are you most looking forward to this summer? Ramona and I are going to Cannes for the first time! We have some travel planned, though I’m probably most looking forward to some rose-filled afternoons at the beach with our son Henry!
What’s been your greatest rosé-drinking experience to date? Do I have to choose just one? Our friend Richard Betts hosted Robert and I for aperitifs at his home a few years back; he’s a Master Sommelier (that part is well known), but he also happens to be an amazing cook. He made fried zucchini blossoms and served it with Jérôme Prévost Fascimile Rosé – it was heavenly.