Before his restaurant Snooze became synonymous with brunch in Denver, Jon Schlegel was a sommelier and wine buyer with plans to move to Italy.
Thirteen years and 37 Snooze locations later, Schlegel has stepped back from the breakfast business and purchased a vineyard in Piedmont’s Barolo wine region. He’s also building a winery and tasting room back in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood.
By fall, Attimo (Italian for “moment”) will start pouring Italian wines and serving gourmet bar snacks in the renovated space formerly occupied by EZ Pawn, at Larimer Street and Park Avenue West. It’s located next to the original Snooze eatery, which opened in 2006.
This new development will add an Italian-style piazza and family play area between Snooze and Attimo, on a transitioning stretch of Larimer.
“This whole block is going to be completely different in a year,” Schlegel said of the half-block he now owns, along with the rest of the neighborhood. “I cannot believe I am coming back. This corner changed my life,” he added.
In 2014, after nearly a decade running Snooze, Schlegel moved to Italy for a year and a half with his family. There, he learned about Italian hospitality and wine production in the home of Slow Food and surrounded by some of the most sought-after grape varietals.
Now, he’s bought his own vines and begun working with winemaker David Fletcher, of Cerreto and Fletcher in Barbaresco. Back in Monforte d’Alba, they harvest and crush the grapes from the Schlegels’ vineyard. Attimo will finish the wines in barrels at its new facility in Denver.
You may have already seen Attimo’s first bottles around town — Chook, a sister restaurant co-owned by Schlegel’s brother Adam, is selling the brand’s table red, white and rosé by the glass. They are also on the menu at Mizu Izakaya, Jovanina’s Broken Italian, Bar Dough, Sushi Den, Death & Co. and more bars and restaurants, and starting to sell in wine shops around Denver.
To get a better picture of where these grapes are being grown, head to La Casa Gialla’s website. It’s the home of the Schlegel family agroturismo in Monforte, an hour south of Turin, and the rolling hills and fields of fruit are pretty spectacular.