On Friday, January 10 Snooze co-founder Jon Schlegel opened his new tasting room in a bunker-like building a few doors down from the original brunch location that started it all. While the winery’s outside still maintains a fair bit of grit (from the outside it very easily still could be mistaken for a pawnshop) behind the doors of the former EZPAWN, any notion that a used stereo could be nearby quickly evaporates. Instead, diners are met with a sleek 60-seat interior serving a small but ample menu of Italian bar snacks, cocktails and a selection of wine Schlegel produces in Italy and finishes on-site.
The urban winery has been several years in the making and fulfills a lifelong dream for its founder. In 2013 Schlegel moved to Monforte d’Alba in Piemonte where he purchased a small, rural bed and breakfast and a two-acre Barolo vineyard. Surrounded by other exceptional wine producers, the experienced brunch-man and level one sommelier dove headlong into the nitty-gritty of wine production, soaking up details from his neighbors, many of whom had been working the vine for generations. All the wine being served comes from the area immediately surrounding Schlegel’s overseas property, with winemaker David Fletcher overseeing the grape production, crush and fermentation of the varietals. The place is intimate, both in terms of size and the personal nature of the concept. Attimo feels like a passion project — the many family photos adding to the location’s obvious warmth. “This is my last office,” smiled Schlegel.
While Attimo is the clear result of years of restaurant experience, little about the place itself would suggest affiliation to Snooze. The project stands alone, providing a good indication of Schlegel’s versatility. Also, the wine is really good. The restaurateur has clearly been doing his homework — he continues to fly back to Italy between six and eight times a year to participate in all aspects of the production, noting his particular relish for harvest time.
Wine comes in four sizes with two, six and nine-ounce pours being joined by decanters for the more invested sippers. Five white and six red varietals are currently on-tap with more to be added as the harvest yields. The Bianco ($2, $6, $9, $20) is bright and reminiscent of sauvignon blanc. The Barbera d’Alba ($5, $10, $15, $30) is bold and earthy with prominent dried strawberry and white pepper notes.
The food menu was designed mostly for snacking. Ten individual items and a mixed cheese, meat and hummus board make up the entirety of the dining options. While it’s not impossible to make is perfectly satisfactory dinner out of the selections, the food was designed to complement the wine rather than sit centerstage. The lecca-lecca di prosciutto ($8) finds crunchy Piemontese breadsticks wrapped in Tender Belly prosciutto, resulting in a savory treat with all the innocent delight of its lollipop namesake. The patate fritti ($6) is house-made potato chips dusted in truffle salt and served with a bowl of decadent fonduta. While the dish is basic on paper, it is one of the most unmissable items on the menu.
Schlegel hopes Attimo will become a neighborhood hub and a convenient stopping-place for people who want to enjoy excellent, original wines. He also plans to use the space for a variety of events — including upcoming multi-course wine pairing meals with Bartolo Mascarello wine-maker Alan Manley on January 30 and Piemonte-native Simone Scaletta on February 13. For anyone looking for the full experience, the monthly wine club includes a variety of perks — including VIP rates at Schlegel’s Monteforte bed and breakfast — La Casa Gialla agriturismo.
Attimo is located at 2246 Larimer St., Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday 2 – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 2 – 10 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.