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RESTAURANTS : ... And a Wisp of a Wine List

August 07, 1988|DAN BERGER

The people at Duplex have taken the work out of wine lists. This list is so small (17 wines) that you can read the entire thing in about 20 seconds.

The wine is certainly served creatively: in a bowl. (And just to keep things fun, the water comes in a wine glass. Now, why didn't I think of that?)

The wines? Not bad--possibly the bottom third of a very good list.

Best values: 1986 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay at $20 and 1986 Byron Pinot Noir at $19. Both wines sell for $12 retail. (Just about everything on this list is marked up about 2.5 times wholesale.) However, both of these wines are in short supply and both are excellent.

Another good value is the Culbertson non-vintage Brut at $21 (retail is $12.75). Other wines of interest: 1985 Kenwood Zinfandel, $15.50; 1984 Lambert Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.50; 1986 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, $12.50.

House wines are $2.50 a glass, uh, bowl. They include Round Hill's 1986 Chardonnay and an attractive Heitz Ryan's Red (made with Grignolino), plus Simi's pretty Rose of Cabernet.

In my opinion a new restaurant should offer a wider selection of Cabernets (there are only two on the list, neither from the Napa Valley), another Zinfandel, and probably some Italian wines.

They might also consider offering a number of wines by the glass. As a starter, I would include a dry Sherry. And, given the innovative food, the list needs at least one Gewurztraminer.

Still, the list appears to be a serious attempt to offer well-priced wine. The staff seems to know wine, service is good, and the initial choices of wine are reasonably well-selected and reasonably priced.

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