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The Wine List

June 13, 1993|Dan Berger

A restaurant's wine list is usually assembled either by the owner, his accountant or a wine wholesaler. But the list at Cafe Caper bears the signature of Dean Gold, a certified wine crazy.

Wine lovers will go gaga over this list, which resembles those at the Westside's Angeli restaurants (where Gold compiled the wine lists until early last year). More important, though, it is intelligently structured for people who know little about wine but want to learn more at a fair price. Every page has some great wines.

Offerings start with several sparkling wines. Gold's own favorite is the rare 1989 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee, a great wine and a steal at $30. There is also Mumm Cuvee Napa at $19--that's just $4 over retail.

For spicier foods, try 1991 DeLoach Gewurztraminer, $14.50; for richer foods, there are 46 Chardonnays as well as 1990 Ahlgren Semillon, $20.

Lovers of red Rhone wines will find 11 to choose from, including the exciting 1990 Domaine du Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf-du-Pape at only $33.50. If you'd like to try an older Cabernet Sauvignon, there is 1976 Rutherford Hill at a fair $30, 1984 Iron Horse at $41, or the spectacular 1981 Laurel Glen at $44. Any other restaurant would price it at $100 or more.

The best white wine value on the list is probably 1991 Eyrie Pinot Gris, $19. The best red wine value is unquestionably 1991 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir--$22.50, just $4.50 over its retail price--and the wine isn't easy to find at retail.

Corkage is only $6, but anyone who brings wine to Cafe Caper should be pistol-whipped. When a wine list is excellent and bargain-priced, use it.

If wine's not your thing, there are about two dozen beers, including 12 imports. And to go with soup, Gold offers five different sherries.

For the light sipper, there are 16 wines by the glass, nothing more expensive than $6.75. To finish, there are five vintage ports, two Madeiras, five fruit infusions and five dessert wines by the glass.

The best feature is Gold's commentary on some items, a wonderful idea to unveil the great but obscure wines.

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