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Vin 48: Life after the vine in Avon

Wren Wertin
Vail CO, Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyVin 48 in Avon features an extensive wine selection.
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AVON, Colorado ” Avon was due for some razzmatazz. Vin 48 is proof positive of the town’s renaissance. Perched just off the roundabout in the Boat Building, the swanky, comfy wine bar and restaurant has great views ” both internal and external. Owned and operated by three local restaurant veterans (albeit young ones), Vin 48 specializes in wine, food and the gift of shared experiences.

Collin Baugh, Chuck Hays and Greg Eynon officially opened Vin 48’s doors the day after Christmas. Welcoming locals and guests alike, the trio and their staff don’t act like they’re the newest game in town. Warm and knowledgeable servers, chefs on display and a team that embraces communication all contribute to the sense of purpose in the air: We’re here to have some serious fun with food and wine.

“Our focus is on wine and pairing it with food and flavors,” Baugh said. He runs the front of the house. “With the expo kitchen and the open rooms, we want everyone to be part of the experience. It’s service in a comfortable atmosphere with a lot of different options.”

Vin 48

For more information or to make a reservation at Vin 48 call 748-WINE. The bar opens at 5 p.m. and the kitchen begins serving at 5:30 p.m.

The concept

As one might expect, wine is key to a place called Vin 48. Why commit to a whole bottle when there are so many options by the glass? A massive wine preservation system from Italy, the Enomatic, dominates the bar. Thirty wines are set into the piece, lined up like freshly scrubbed soldiers. They stand at attention until they’re ordered, either by the glass or half glass.

In the spirit of tasting, the menu is broken into plates small and large. Grazing is encouraged. In fact, there are so many good-sounding items on the menu it’s just pure kindness that they come in smaller portions: braised short ribs with cheese grits and fried okra, diver scallops topped with sweet corn sauce and a prosciutto crisp, spinach gnocchi tossed with smoked salmon and champagne sauce.

“I really like this place and how it’s set up,” said Hays, executive chef. “We’re off to a good start. All my cooks are qualified and Nick Maxwell, my sous chef, is great. It’s very exciting.”

Hays’ menu is focused on Italian flavors, though he plans to expand it with other influences as he goes.

On the wing

What’s more festive than one glass of wine? Try three. Vin 48 doesn’t just have an extensive by-the-glass menu. The list of wine flights covers a page. Flights offer the opportunity for side-by-side comparisons. They’re half pours of three wines that are unified by a theme, such as location (Spain, for example) or varietal (pinot noir or bubbly). But the list gets more inventive, such as with “Going Green,” featuring organic and biodynamic wines. A flight celebrating women winemakers is on its way. “The whole concept is to make wine fun,” said Eynon, who’s spearheaded the wine program. “We want the list to be understood by people who don’t know much about wine, as well as be interesting for people who are wine-educated.”

Though winemakers might start with the same grape, what different elixirs they manage to turn out. In addition to domestic offerings, the wine list has a heavy emphasis on Old World wines, especially those from Italy. It’s fitting, considering the three partners all worked at Beaver Creek’s Toscanini, an Italian restaurant, until heading off on their own.

“Old World wines pair really well with food,” Eynon said.

Brave new world

Before they opened Vin 48 the three owners embarked upon a massive redesign that not only doubled the once-intimate space but also created an entirely new ambiance. There are smaller spaces within the large whole.

Downstairs the exhibition kitchen divides the restaurant into a bar area and a dining room. Behind the Enomatic and embracing the whole west end of the bar is a wall of 30-foot windows set on a pronounced. The bar itself arcs like a parentheses, offering drinkers at one end a view of those at the other. It feels friendly and communal. Despite the gleam of well-polished glassware and the sleek line of the stools, the bar feels solid. It can take revelry, happy spirits, community.

On the other side, the dining room is broken into smaller spaces by a wine wall that displays the vino collection. A dry-stacked rock wall flanking one end contributes a nouveau ’70s snap, underscored by the tables’ slashes of orange. It’s an upbeat place, with individual tables and a large, communal one. Upstairs is a room with low-slung couches and a large TV, buffered from the rest despite the view of the bar just over the ledge.

“Our vision was to have several different elements,” Baugh said. “What we’ve ended up with is exactly what we envisioned.”

And that means lots of options for their guests.

Check out the menu at http://www.vin48.com.

Special Sections Editor Wren Wertin can be reached at wren@vaildaily.com.


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