Test Driving Clo
One of Clo's Enomatics
Clo, the new wine bar in the Time Warner Center, is a sleek box of a space, the walls lined with banks of Enomatics—the Italian contraption that preserves open wine bottles with inert gas, and also automatically dispenses a pre-programmed amount of the wine into your glass.
Union Square Wines has a few of the machines, but you have to buy a bottle first in order to use them, and the setting isn't appealing for meeting a friend for wine tasting.
Clo, on the other hand, isn't selling bottles (yet) so the 106 wines sealed up in the Enomatics are just for tasting. One long table dominates the small space, and the surface of the table displays the much talked about automated wine list. You can search by color, grape, region or price, and each bottle lists its basic biographical information, as well as tasting notes and a map showing which Enomatic you can find it in. I thought that navigating the system was awkward, and involved a lot of waving my hands in the air like a crazy person (and I wasn't even tipsy!). But it is an undeniably cool feature, once you get the hang of it.
The table-top computerized wine list
The tastes dispensed at the Enomatics are two ounces (that's a little less than half a glass), and most cost between $4-12. The cheapest is $3 and the most expensive $83.
Beyond the cool gadgetry and novelty factor, Clo's best feature is that it puts a taste of some very expensive wines within almost anyone's reach. Yes, $30 for two ounces of wine is very expensive, but it's more attainable than buying a bottle of 1991 Chateau Musar for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Wine geeks on a budget will love this place.
And it has fairly comfy stools and a view out over the Time Warner Center's atrium into Central Park—a fun new place to meet friends for a drink, with the added benefit of being able to taste a bunch of different wines.
Pouring out a taste of a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley