Justin Chearno is partner and wine director at Michelin-starred restaurant The Four Horsemen, in Brooklyn, New York.
Drawn to the natural wine movement from the get-go, Chearno’s career as a buyer and importer has consistently kept him in tune with wine’s rapidly evolving universe, enabling him to unearth and champion emerging growers and overlooked regions.
The wine list at The Four Horsemen is both extensive and reflective of Chearno’s boundless curiosity and passion to share with diners wines that tell stories of people and places.
In this interview, we discover more about his approach to selecting and enjoying wine.
Flip directly to Burgundy, Northern Rhone or Piedmont (depending on the restaurant). The classics help me figure out what kind of list we're dealing with.
This is when I fall into the trap of mystical, spiritual, natural wine clichés, but honestly, the wine just feels more alive and makes me feel something. It makes me smile. I'm not talking about typicity or even terroir. I don't mean " this is an excellent example of 2016 Echezeaux" . It's almost undefinable but it happens between me and the bottle and glass and I just kind of know.
Many, many (many) years ago a co-worker at the record shop where I worked explained to me how bands could book their own tours and put out their own records and make their way and I never looked back.
People that are happy to drink great bottles but talk about anything other than wine all night.
At a friend's home that has a great audio setup while we listen to records I've never heard before or music I haven't thought of in a long time and open wines we've been promising each other we'd drink together for years but somehow never found the time until this moment.
Anything that keeps us at the table and out of the kitchen.
I've been lucky.. There are too many and I'm not particularly nostalgic but today I think it was the first bottle of Selosse rosé I had in about 2011. I brought a bottle home from Paris and drank it with a good friend at our favorite local at the time. The bottle truly opened my mind and it was in a moment where wines like that were still semi-affordable.
Diner in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
That's definitely changed. for years and years I was a "what's the next bottle and what are the 3 bottles after that? " drinker but recently my approach is much more "less bottles, better bottles”.
Absolutely. I've embraced the "less but better" idea across the board. Whether it's food, events, acquaintances or possessions.
The crisp , Autumn weather is finally settling in here in Brooklyn and I've got a bottle of 2014 Jean-Michel Stephan Côte Rôtie Côteaux de Bassenon calling my name..
Starting from this summer our opening times are changing. From Tuesday 1st August onwards, our restaurant will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday as usual.
Our last day open before the holidays is Saturday 5th August. We will be back as usual from Tuesday 15th August.