Before the summer is out, check out Eno Wine Bar for easy sipping, nibbling and people-watching.
By Donna Drejza
Local oenophiles, rejoice. Great wine tasting is no longer a plane ride to Napa away. Just pop over to Georgetown and hit up Eno Wine Bar to sample fine wines, artisanal cheeses, and hand-crafted chocolates. While eno derives from Greek language referencing wine, it is also a hyperbole for awesome or cool, which could not be a more apt description for this hidden gem.
When I ducked in that first night it was my only port in a torrential rain storm. Located in a quaint townhouse connected to the Four Seasons, the atmosphere at Eno is casual, with exposed brick walls and oak tables providing a rustic vibe. The atrium and large windows give it color and vivacity. Feeling cold and wet, I parked myself at the tiny bar and scanned the wine menu. With 30 wines offered by the glass, I chose the Terre di Giola Marzemino ($10), mostly due to the description: “ Known as Mozart’s favorite wine. Maybe one day it’ll be known as my fav.” Now warmed by the woody Italian, I continued to read cheeky descriptions of worldly wines. A trip with a blonde will run $9-$14 while reds are in the $10-$18 range, which is quite reasonable given the generous pour in a delicate high-stemmed glass. The knowledgeable French sommelier suggested a sampling of 3 cheeses and in no time, she presented a little cutting board with Bay blue, smokey blue and Chiriboga, served with grapes and crusty bread for $12.Right then and there, I knew I had found a new favorite place. I felt like I had ducked out of the rain and into the Mediterranean.
On my second visit, I was late to meet a colleague, but found him basking in the sun at the outdoor café, surrounded by yellow Hibiscus, drinking a beer. Yes, they have beer and no, it’s not Miller Lite. He was enjoying his Deschutes Black Butte Porter, when he was suddenly summoned home. As I waited for another friend to arrive, I noticed a stylish woman who could have been posing for a French Café magazine. In no time, we were a party of three, as my friend arrived shortly after and we ordered a flight of white wines (three 2.5 oz. pours for $ 14) served in elegant stem-less glasses with a card describing each flavor profile. Under my careful instruction, my companion ordered a charcuterie platter containing three cheeses, pate, prosciutto and duck sausage. It was so flavorful, I had to distract him while I stole tiny bites of his savory duck. When told to get my own food, I ordered the “Eno Experience,” which included a full glass of wine, a sampling of three cheeses and three meats, finished with a heavenly piece of specialty chocolate for $28.
The third time, I brought my visiting mother and brother. We ventured upstairs for a nice view of the bar and the “wine cask” mobile. Despite the soft amber chairs, I secretly wished they had some nice comfy sofas—pea green velvet ones to be exact. As Adele sang in the foreground, my brother decided on one of the flights of reds. I was about to go red, when I spotted my beloved white Viognier; apples, honey, texture, zippiness – what’s not to love? The waiter let me invent my own flight of Viognier, Cabernet and Chardonnay. With too many choices before her, mom was holding up our drinking, so we just ordered an “Acid Trip” white flight for her. Sharing and sipping, we took our sweet time savoring the nuances of each wine and eventually adding in some nibbles. We loved the Bruschetta flight ($12), and once again I ordered an “Eno Experience“ mostly to get the chocolate, which is otherwise $4 a piece. This also got us one full glass of wine to fight over. Mom was presented with the dark chocolate on a little plate with “Eno” stenciled out in chocolate. The details are certainly handled by a pro at Eno.
If you truly want to become a hip trendy oenophile, then do the flights. If you just want to eat and drink, then order wines by the glass, or better yet, the bottle. Eno also offers private tastings with prices starting at $55 per person. This will keep your wine-swilling carnivore friends from spilling all over your new carpeting.
Donna Drejza is the author of “Palm Beach Busybodies” and “Soul Mates and the 102.”