Orland Delgado at Frankies 570
"You want to have easy drinking wines for the most part to go with food," said Orland Delgado, of Frankies 570 in the West Village. "Then you want to have bigger wines, something aged, more special, unique, so you get the older vintages. There are certain years that are really good, so I have certain wines that we're sitting on, because we know they'll be really great."
Crafting a wine list that's updated monthly to suit the seasonal offerings at Frankies 570, Orland seeks to balance not just the representation of regions on his Italian wine list, but also varietals and vintages. "Certain wines I can have on the list all year round," he said. "But can it sell in New York? We're very seasonal here. In a few months we can go from 70º to 40º. I can see a wine sell, sell, sell, then it stops." Working with a small cellar in the basement, keeps his inventory intentional and tight. However, Orland said, "If I have one or two bottles left, I take it off the list and save it," for a diner who he knows will appreciate it.
A weekend destination for tourists who are fans of Frankies 457 Olive Oil and of their Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, Frankies 570 attracts more locals on Sunday evenings and weeknights. "We get a lot of people who know the book, who come and ask, How do you do this?" he said. "It's always the pasta..." that they struggle to replicate. Much like the key to New York's pizza and bagels, New York's water with high mineral content yields great results with Frankies pasta.
"Earlier in the week, we get more sophisticated wine drinkers who are more willing to try something new. We have people who come in, especially at the bar, who order antipasti or crostini and a bit bottle of wine. On weekends, you have people who drink wine by the glass or people who have money and want the most expensive bottles."
Opening Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens in 2004, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo both grew up in New York and worked in the city. "They had good relationships with local vendors," said Orland, which gave birth to the concept behind their restaurants, all of which emphasize their commitment to serving fresh, local and humanely raised fare.
When Orland initially joined the team, he was hired to open Frankies 17 on Clinton Street, after working with Italian wines at Café Fiorello. "I think Italian is my favorite," he said. There are so many varietals. Lots of times, I have a wine rep who comes in and says, 'I have this great wine for you', and I've never heard of the grape. It keeps things fresh. As I learn about new wines, I gain new favorites," he added. "I love the [Milziade Antano] Montefalco Rosso. It's been on the list since opening. The Hofstaetter Pinot Grigio is crisp and delicious. I love it. Martin [Foradori] came here. He got to meet the whole staff and he related with cycling too."
Orland riding the GFNY
Always a rider, Orland really got into cycling the year before he started working at Frankies, in 2006 or 2007, when he bought a custom built Rosko frame. "It's like getting a tattoo," he said. "Once you get one, you're hooked." Since then he's ridden a few Gran Fondos and the Montauk Century four years in a row. "The 2013 NY Gran Fondo was the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life - physically, emotionally and mentally." A 100-mile ride with unseasonably cold temperatures, 8,000+ feet elevation gain and all-day rain, a few of us at TEW also rode and can certainly vouch for his pain. "I kept seeing people give up, but I wouldn't. The first year I did it, in 2011, that year we got to the top [of Bear Mountain] and thought, Great! We made it to the top, we thought we had just one more hill. Then you hit this wall," he said and laughed. "That year only 2,000 people finished it, out of 5,000, so I felt good."