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RESTAURANTS : A Thoughtful Stash

June 26, 1988|DAN BERGER

Chaya Brasserie does not offer the usual endless array of Chardonnays and Cabernets that are typically mixed with a few high-priced bottles of Bordeaux. It does offer a wine list with a range of styles and prices, including a few "orphan wines" that are unexpected gems. Looking at this list, you know a great deal of thought went into its selection.

Among the orphans I delighted in finding are 1985 Chappellet Chenin Blanc ($17), 1984 Louis Metaireau Muscadet ($18), and even a Condrieu, though at $52, it's not much of a bargain.

The list of 11 Chardonnays include these well-priced items: 1986 Murphy-Goode ($18), 1985 Simi ($19), 1986 Edna Valley ($20), and 1986 Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Ranches ($21). Five other Chardonnays from Burgundy range in price from $19 for a Macon to $105 for a Batard-Montrachet.

The reds offer more intrigue. Bargains include 1981 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva ($20), 1985 Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage ($20), and 1983 Antonio Vallana Barbera ($13).

Other finds: an Oak Knoll Pinot Noir from Oregon from the 1985 vintage, considered one of Oregon's best, at $22. And there is even an older Cabernet, a Chateau Montelena from the excellent 1981 vintage, at an affordable $32.

The best wine is the 1970 Chateau Leoville-Poyferre at a reasonable $85. Most pricing is about 2.5 times wholesale, not cheap, but not excessive. Sparkling wines are expensive (nothing below $35). Corkage is $8 a bottle.

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