Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Class by the Glass

When I first laid eyes on the temperature controlled glass cases that not only showcased wines from around the world, but also acted as a modern-day vending machine dispensing 4oz at a time, my first thought was this is going to be fun. My second thought was how do I get one of these for my lunch room at work?

This is modern technology meets enology.

My friend and I have been dying to check out Clo in the Time Warner Center in NYC for a while now. We finally went this past Monday and I was pretty impressed. Now I feel like the keeper of a really cool secret, only it's not a secret anymore because I am telling you all about it.

Clo is a small wine bar, but with big intentions. It completely changes the whole wine experience. You are seated at the bar, left to your own devices, to casually peruse the wide selection of wines using an interactive computer screen that projects on to the communal table. Even though I suffer from a mild case techno-apathy -I may be the only person in New York without an iphone, and I just recently learned of twitter- I was intuitively searching for white wines from France, between $7-$14 a glass. The tricky part comes when the computer narrows the search down and displays the results. You scroll through the selection of wines using your fingertips and read the sommelier notes, which is fantastic, only that I was never able to get control of my scrolling. I was constantly going past the bottle I wanted to read about and I hadn't even had my first glass of wine yet.

After I was able to read the sommelier notes about my wine selection I looked at the price per glass and the location of the wine, for instance D3. I insert my plastic card-similar to a hotel card- in the glass case housing the wine bottles in the D section and hold my wine glass under the dispensor for that bottle. Voila. I have my 4oz of wine.

My friends and I shared a small cheese plate - they offer cheese or charcuterie- while we sipped our wines. We browsed the wine lists looking for varietals and out of curiosity looked for the most expensive wine. The highest priced glass was $92 for a Californian wine, the bottle was $695, which took me by surprise. But, what do I know about wine? I was sticking in $12 a glass range and I was more than satisfied.

It was definitely a fun place to go for drinks, and practical too. I can't count the amount of times that I would have a nice glass of wine and completely forget the name. With this system you can inconspicously jot down the name, the grape, and even some of the sommelier notes in a notebook- in my case- or for the rest of the world in your iphones and Blackberries without drawing any attention to your inability to remember what you just drank.

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