Just a Taste

By the ounce or by the glass, Enomatic systems open up a world of wine possibilities

“Enomatic” is a term similar to Kleenex or Jell-O, because even though a French company of that name first developed these wine-dispensing and preservation systems, competing companies such as Napa Technologies are now producing them, yet anything falling into the category is called an enomatic. Several dining spots around town take advantage of a proprietary technology that allows wines to remain fresh in the bottle, while being visible behind a glass window in a stainless-steel dispenser. Wines are dispensed by a programmed number of ounces, and customers are charged accordingly. The disadvantage is that the machines are expensive—for the venue. For patrons, they present a great opportunity to taste a wine that until now was not available by the glass. Two sips of a premium wine are often more satisfying than a full glass of an average one. Here are five local watering holes in which to experience these wondrous contraptions and how to best enjoy their tempting contents.

Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar

Gino Ferraro has long had—along with Piero Selvaggio Valentino in the Venetian—the best Italian wine selection in town. Now you can get a top wine from his dispenser in 1-, 3- and 5-ounce pours, wines that normally require a fat wallet when ordered by the bottle. Ferraro frequently changes the selections, 16 in all. At the moment, though, his Russiador ’06 chardonnay from Aldo Conterno, a delicious Italian white, is $4.48, $13.44 or $22.48, respectively, and goes beautifully with his son Mimmo’s braised rabbit. How about Angelo Gaja’s Promis, a blend of merlot, syrah and sangiovese, starting at only $5.40? (The whole bottle would set you back $120.) Gino would have you drink it with some bucatini all’amartriciana. Wow! 4480 Paradise Road, 364-5300, FerrarosLasVegas.com.

La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway

The Wynn’s tony wine bar has an eclectic menu of small plates and grill items created by chef William DeMarco. The dispensers hold a wide selection of international wines, offered in 2-, 4- and 6-ounce pours. The sommelier will help you do pairings, but here are three I can’t resist: Try the crispy wonton salmon sashimi, with avocado and sesame soy dressing, paired with a vividly fruity Spanish Albariño, the ’10 Paco & Lola, a steal at $4, $8 and $12. Tavel, which produces wonderful grenache for rosé, such as the ’10 Prieuré de Montezargues ($6, $12 and $18), is fine with DeMarco’s poached quail egg, Nueske bacon and fontina flatbread. And for a splurge, bacon-wrapped dates with blue-cheese fondue are perfect with the ’07 Speri amarone, priced at $16, $32 and $48. Happy landings. In Wynn Las Vegas, 770-7000, WynnLasVegas.com.

Max’s Wine Picks

Porch Sipper

2010 Conundrum, Calif., $20, Lee’s
Discount Liquor.

Big Red

2007 Nickel & Nickel Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa
Valley, Calif., $80, Total Wine & More.

Sweet Ending

2007 Royal Tokaji Wine Co., Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, Hungary, 500 milliliters, $30, Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits.

Terra Verde

This little off-Strip Italian gem offers 16 choices ideal for its $5 small-plates menu, which includes goat cheese crostini and a delicious meatball slider. There are tables in the bar for enjoying these libations. Some choices at present include whites such as a ’10 Conundrum and a riesling from Germany’s Dr. Loosen, both $3 per ounce, and luxurious imports such as Italian tignanello at $7. Most wines here were chosen by Station Casinos corporate somm, Peter Donkonics, a real pro. In Green Valley Ranch Resort, 617-7777, GreenValleyRanchResort.com.

Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge

Ray Nisi’s second arrival of his three wine concepts is packing them in during happy hour, which has been extended from 3:30-7:30 p.m. daily. Dishes from the happy-hour menu are half-price, a terrific deal. That means you can get the addictive olive poppers for $3, or three generously portioned barbecue pork sliders for $5. What’s more, to help you decide, tastes of wine are free, although it wouldn’t be polite to take advantage. Twenty wines in the five machines here are available by the 3-ounce half glass or 6-ounce full glass. Standouts include Antica chardonnay ($9-$17), ’08 Snoqualmie syrah ($7-12) and Cline Cellars “Ancient Vines” zinfandel ($5-$9). In Town Square, 735-9463, TownSquare.DoubleHelixWine.com.

D.Vino Italian Food & Wine Bar

There are 16 wines, mostly Italian, in one large machine, conveniently located in the restaurant’s bar. Here, diners get the option to purchase a credit card that allows them to select 1-, 2- and 5-ounce pours of their choice at the machine, or simply to order at the table. Interesting choices at the moment include ’08 Felsina Berardenga Chianti ($3, $6, $15), ’09 Morgante nero d’Avola ($3, $6, $15) and an ’07 Roagna dolcetto ($2.40, $4.80, $12) a Piedmontese wine that is not sweet, as the name might imply. Along with the wine, try some San Daniele prosciutto or imported mortadella from the charcuterie board, or enjoy a wood-fired house pizza such as the roasted vegetable for $14. In the Monte Carlo, 730-7966, MonteCarlo.com.

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