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The Wine List

March 20, 1994|Dan Berger

Catching your eye first is the number of wines--more than 150 selections at prices that are not unreasonable (considering Rustica's high-rent district). Another good idea: the dozen wines by the glass, most priced at one-fourth the bottle cost.

Best wines for the well-seasoned food here are 1991 Phelps Grenache Rose, $19; 1992 Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer, $18; 1992 Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc, $19, and 1991 Ridge Zinfandel "Geyserville," $29.

However, as with all new restaurants in the shakeout phase, some things come off only with a hitch.

For instance, at a restaurant that features rustic (i.e., hearty) food, I'd have liked more Zinfandels. Also, there are no red Rhone wines, no Beaujolais, no Alsatian whites, no Oregon Pinot Gris, no Loire Valley reds--the sorts of wines that go best with rustic foods. In fact, the Conterno Barbera we ordered, which would have been great with the food here, was temporarily out of stock.

Versatility was lacking. A third of the list (56 wines) is composed of Bordeaux-type wines from France or California; another 37 wines are Chardonnays. This isn't very interesting.

Moreover, vintages are not always as listed, though to be fair, the list changes frequently and the staff alerts patrons when a vintage is different from what's printed.

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