Like Mike Tyson, wine is usually robust, is often boxed, and should never influence tattooing decisions. Imbibe the spirit of a champion with this Groupon.
$99 for a Wine-Tasting Experience for Two ($198 Value)
In the industrial atmosphere of the barrel room, winemaker Ryan Sharp pours samples of seven locally made wines. He pairs each glass with artisan salamis cured by Olympic Provisions, seasonal raw and aged cheeses from Steve's Cheese Bar, or chocolate truffles infused with flavors such as vanilla brown butter from Xocolatl de David.
Along with the tasting, visitors tour the winery, learning about wine basics and production. Winemaker Ryan Sharp also taps unreleased barrels for additional tastings, and guests receive a $30 credit toward wine purchases (credit can be used at a later date). Tastings and tours occur from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays November 7–15 and November 28–December 20.
With its permanent residence in a former garage—complete with a vintage sign detailing overnight auto storage rates of just 35 cents—lived-in couches, and playfully mismatched furniture, it's clear that ENSO Winery is more laid-back than traditional wine bars. In fact, this lack of pretension is a large part of the reason Willamette Weekly named ENSO its 2014 Bar of the Year. The publication also raved about the quality of ENSO's wine, as did Wine Press Northwest, which put the winery on its 2013 Oregon Winery to Watch list.
Owner and winemaker Ryan Sharp takes care to create his vintages on as small a scale as possible, using miniature fermentation bins to yield complex flavors and stainless-steel tanks no larger than a fully grown mannequin. By creating wine this way, Sharp can keep an eye on the quality, as well as experiment more easily. He also only uses grapes sourced from vineyards on the West Coast, including several in Oregon.
In addition to its own wines, ENSO boasts a rotating tap of other Portland-made wines and local beers. Since it was founded in 2010, it has won numerous awards and received many press mentions.