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The Right Way to Treat Wine

You’ll find no tastevins at Shane. Nor will you find a wine list that looks like the Manhattan phone book, cut crystal stemware, or haughty treatment.

What you will find is charmingly enlightened service by waiters, waitresses and bus staff alike.

Order a glass of the house wine (the white is a rather simple Italian Pinot Grigio, nothing to get excited about). Bing, it’s delivered in a flash, chilled but not frozen. In nice, large wine glasses.

Want to share a sip with your neighbor? Raise an eyebrow at the busboy who’s passing. He stops. “Another empty glass?” you ask. Bing. He snatches one off a nearby empty table and you have it.

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Bring a bottle from your cellar? No questions asked: The waitress simply opens it (with a degree of skill rarely found in fancier establishments) and asks if she should pour or wait.

Wine is treated right here. Take the list of two dozen wines. Not many selections, true, but it’s well selected and relatively reasonable in price.

The 1984 Burgess Chardonnay, at $20, is just twice wholesale, a fair margin. Likewise, the attractive 1984 Jordan Cabernet is just $26, again just twice wholesale. Lytton Springs’ 1985 Zinfandel, $16, is 2.4 times wholesale; 1985 Trefethen Chardonnay, $25, is 2.3 times wholesale.

In spite of the few wines offered, values pop off the page. A lovely 1985 Meursault Rougeot-Latour, at $34, is a bargain; it’s suggested retail price is $25.25. The rich 1985 Chateau de Beaucastel from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is $31, less than twice wholesale (with a retail price of $23.50). One of the best values is 1983 Carmenet Red at $23, which is less than twice the wholesale price.

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For the budget minded, there is the adequate Pinot Grigio at $11 a bottle, and among the reds, the 1986 Chianti Santa Christina is $11.

Corkage, $8, is acknowledged on the wine list. This means the restaurant recognizes that some of its patrons may have older wines it can’t stock, and the owners have no objection if you have one with your dinner.

Sure, tables at Shane aren’t very large (our party of four one night felt a little cramped), and the noise level would rival that in a tank factory. However the wines selected for the list are well made, fun, reasonably priced and served with a degree of enthusiasm I wish could be bottled and sold.


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