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Board & Happy

 Posted: 8:50 AM November 15, 2012

Christopher DeFrisco is a well-known board-game fanatic. He hosts monthly game nights at the Ashland library, scours the shelves at Funagain Games near Ashland Street Cinema for new releases and maintains a hefty collection of games at his home near Emigrant Lake.

But when DeFrisco and his wife, Chris, want a different setting to roll the dice, they go to Enoteca Wine Tasting & Bistro overlooking the Ashland Plaza, especially on Wednesday Spaghetti Game Nights.

There, they settle into leather chairs on the second floor, crack open a game they either have brought with them or borrowed from those stacked on a cart in the room and enjoy a glass of Rogue Valley wine.

Daily wine specials, from cabernet sauvignon to viognier, start at $5 a glass. Small plates of food are offered for around $8 every night, but from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, spaghetti is complimentary with a wine purchase.

Recently, the DeFriscos relaxed at Enoteca with family members. "We went with our 16-year-old son, Henry, and we met my parents there," says Christopher DeFrisco, "and had a wonderful evening drinking wine, eating some great antipasto and playing a game of Ticket to Ride: Europe."

In an email to fellow board-game players, DeFrisco told them that unlike the library or Funagain Games store, where parents feel comfortable dropping off their teenage children to join other players, Enoteca only allows children if accompanied by adults.

"It is a very nice, adult place to taste and drink wine and have some yummy treats, and they were fine with our 16-year-old son joining us," he says.

The board-game devotee says the second floor of the historical building at 17 N. Main St. works well for long hours of pondering a move or dealing out cards. It's quieter than the downstairs bar area, where people cluster around the counter or tall bar tables, sample different wines and learn about grape growing, microclimates and enology techniques.

DeFrisco also appreciates that folded tabletops upstairs can be extended for extra gaming space and that there is a small library of strategy games, such as For Sale, wooden block games Tic Tac Chec and Qwirkle, dice game YamSlam, safari adventure-themed Botswana and trivia game Crap or Fact?

High ceilings absorb noise when games get heated.

"The staff was very friendly and very appreciative of our patronage, even though we were quite loud," confesses DeFrisco.

Enoteca is owned by the Root family, who also own EdenVale Winery and Eden Valley Orchards in Medford. Instead of limiting customers to just her wine, Anne Root long has hosted Taste Rogue Wine programs and other events that promote regional wines.

Recently, Enoteca invited Valley View Winery of Jacksonville, Grizzly Peak Winery of Ashland and even Southern Oregon Brewing Co. of Medford to pour tastes of their beverages.

The wine bar also hosts live musical performances, from harpist Mary Vannice to rocker Robbie DaCosta and classic/folk musician G.R. Nelson. Follow, see or call 541-512-2955 or 541-482-3377.

Says DeFrisco: "Having a good glass of wine and playing a board game ... well it doesn't get much better than that."

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