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Restaurants : The Wine List

August 16, 1992|Dan Berger

In California, every year is a vintage year.

Someone whose name is lost in antiquity created that little maxim for wines from the Golden State. Most people these days know better: California vintages differ appreciably. Yet the wine list at The Club is a throwback to that era when the maxim was given credence.

The Club's list of California wines has few vintages. The names of some California wines are followed by little v's, denoting that the wines in question are, in fact, vintage wines. How nice.

So I ordered the Carneros Creek Pinot Noir, v., for $30, but I told the server that before she opened it, she should let me see the vintage so that I could determine if it was a year I wanted.

The server returned empty-handed, reporting, "We're out of that wine."

Vintages are important in European wines, too, so I ordered the 1986 Domaine de la Roquette, a Chateauneuf-du-Pape with some bottle age. Not a bad buy at $35. Out came the 1988. A bad buy at $35.

The list itself isn't bad, complete with a large selection of French wines, including some wines with a bit of bottle age. The problem is that many of the wines are far more expensive than they should be, and prices for even current wines are pretty steep. Spending $21 for a 1987 Beaujolais isn't my idea of happiness.

A decent white wine value on the list is 1988 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc, $18. The list of red wines is much leaner. Depending on the vintage, you might choose a Cabernet Sauvignon from Clos du Val, $36; Trefethen, $29, or Joseph Phelps, $28.

Assuming they have them.

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