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ON WINE

A Tap on House Wines : The Cruvinet Process Has Brought Wine by the Glass

April 05, 1987|ROBERT LAWRENCE BALZER

In most of the upscale watering holes and finer dining establishments that I have recently visited, the once omnipresent "house wine" has been replaced by "wine by the glass," with the choice up to the patron.

Unquestionably, this trend, which entails keeping open any number of bottles for a period of days, perhaps weeks, came about with the development of the Cruvinet system, in which a nitrogen seal prevents oxidation in partially empty bottles.

One restaurant that has taken full advantage of this advance in wine presentation is Greenblatt's on the Sunset Strip, where the Cruvinet offers patrons 28 wines to choose from--by the taste or by the glass, with selections from choice imports or from California discoveries.

Although the term house wine has not become obsolete, too often what it refers to is still the cheapest white or red that an establishment can buy, and that tends to send the inveterate wine lover back to the martini, manhattan or highball.

These days, if you're looking for a quality house wine for your own house but have outgrown Chablis Blanc and that old standby, Gallo Hearty Burgundy, you might try Barefoot Bynum Premium Red ($6.99 for a 1.5-liter magnum), which is actually a Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. For a white house wine try a Sonoma County Dry Sauvignon Blanc. Both are delectable bargains. The corks of both have beveled edges for easy closing, and both will appeal to new and experienced palates.

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