Friday, January 18, 2008

Vinum Populi: Enomatic Wine Tasting is better than playing the slots

Awhile back I checked out Vinum Populi in LA and had a great time. If you haven't run into these Enomatic tasting machines yet, they are pretty fun. I first encountered them at Taste in San Luis Obispo. You lay down some cash for a card that you insert in the machine and pick the wine you like and the machine dispenses a 1-2 ounce pour. It's a great pre-dinner activity sure to spur on conversation with a group and way better than losing at slots. Vinum Populi also has a nice selection of food so if you have too much fun, stay and have some yummy small plates among friends.

My favorite part of the wine slot machine is discovering new wines in a pretty inexpensive way. That and not having that Vegas casino sound in my head for at least a day after I get out of town. I bring along a camera and take pics of anything I really enjoyed. Here are the wines I found that really interested me. I don't have tasting notes for you all since I was having too much fun to break out a pen. Here are the finds and the photos to help you track them down.

2004 Domaine de la Ferme Saint-Martin Beaumes de Venise Cuvee du Diaper from Cote du Rhone. It's a blend of 90% Grenache and 10 % Syrah

2005 La Mirande Chateauneuf du Pape Blend of 70% Grenache 15% Syrah 7% Mourvedre 5% Cinasault
If anyone can point me a place to pick these wine's up, I'd much appreciate it.

My favorite and recommended by the poor girl running around refilling the stations was the 2004 Cenit 100% Tempranillo. The winemaker's name is Amy Hopkinson so I had to love that since I hope to be a winemaker someday soon and my name is already Amy. I loved this wine so much I tracked some down after the visit. Its pretty pricey so a great alternative is the 2003 Cenit for a bargain price from Domaine 547. I do think the 2004 was a bit better but considering that its selling for about $50-$100 bucks a bottle, the 2003 packs so much of what is good about 2004 for the bargain price of $19.99.

Tasting notes for the 2003 Cenit Tempranillo from Domaine547

  • Color: Deep garnet
  • Nose: lots of vanilla so I'm guessing there was a lot of new oak used making this wine, black cherry and licorice
  • Taste: black cherries, anise, hint of rosemary and a bit of leather on the finish.
This wine is very enjoyable for the price. Tempranillo is my new Zinfandel. Good Zinfandels are usually fun and unpretentious. Good Tempranillo steps it up a bit by having better acidity. I've been loving Tempranillo since 2005 when I had Rick Longoria's first 2004 Tempranillo. Often you can find great bargains if you stray outside the safe/standard varietals( Cab, Merlot, Chard and now Pinot Noir thanks to Sideways)

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Richard Auffrey said...

Luckily in Boston, there is a wine store with a Enomatic that does not charge for its use. You get a free card with 20 points and use it in the Enomatic, each wine costing about 1-5 points. You can only get one card per day. they usually have around 40 or so wines available.

SB Wine Advocate said...

Hi Richard, wow, that is a cool shop. What a great idea.Lucky you! Now if only LA would get a place to taste for free :)

Anonymous said...

I love this machine. They are everywhere! I discovered one just south of Dublin which I blogged about recently.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to taste with a barrista who can identify the wines and tell you about them. I especially dislike the fact that with the machine the back label is out of sight, so you can't even read that!

SB Wine Advocate said...

Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for stopping by. I took at look at your site. its lovely. My mother's side of my fam is all Irish so its really cool to see a glimpse into life in Dublin

Wineguy, yes a real live person is preferable but I often find that the staff doesn't know too much at all anyway or sometimes I prefer to just go on my own taste instead of having someone else's preconceived notions put in my head prior to tasting.. and I only said it was better than playing the slots ;)

Richard Auffrey said...

Since the wines in the Eno should be available for sale in the store, if you see something interesting in the Eno you just have to find the bottle in the store to read the back label. and in my local store, the staff will gladly tell you about any of the wines in the Eno you want to know about.

Anonymous said...

Vinum Populi was also the place I first had the Cenit! I could have sworn it was the '03 when I went, though...I'll have to check my notes! In any case, much agreed that VP is a great place to grab a drink.

SB Wine Advocate said...

Richard, again you taunt me with your cool store. I love it. perfect idea..

Jill, I totally concur I'm down with V.P. Great fun! Plus we all found Cenit there :)

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