By Matthew Buckley Smith
Alex Manfredonia wants to find the wine for you. “People love talking to me about wine, and I love talking about it,” he tells me on the cozy back patio of his Eastport restaurant, VIN 909. “I might not hit it right away, but I sure as hell can bring you three tastes of something, and of those three, you’re going to love one of them.”
Wine is, appropriately, one of the house passions at VIN 909, but the selection is neither impoverishing nor obscure, and at no point during my visit does anyone don an accent for the sake of pronouncing a foreign vintage. There are three basic categories on the menu: the $6 glass, the $8 glass, and the $12 glass, and some of Manfredonia’s favorites are in the $6 section. He doesn’t want anybody to feel intimidated. “Arrogance with wine, it’s just not necessary,” he says. That seems to echo the philosophy behind the restaurant as a whole. “It’s creating an environment that we would want to be in,” he invokes with a gesture his business partners, Justin Moore and Chuck Manfredonia, the latter a long-time D.C. restaurateur and Alex’s father. Their partnership has been a fruitful one. People don’t go to VIN 909 so much as they frequent it.
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