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Best Wine List San Francisco 2005 -

Rubicon

558 Sacramento (at Montgomery), 434-4100, www.sfrubicon.com

Some say that Rubicon's wine list, which runs to 70 densely printed pages in a hefty tooled leather binder, is not only the best in San Francisco, but also the best in the United States. Under Master Sommelier Larry Stone (one of the most honored men in the wine trade; the first page of the list is devoted to his awards and those of the half-dozen sommeliers who work with him), the 1,700-entry list has set a new bar for American restaurants. It features great grapes and vineyards in depth (the same wine in different vintages, permitting vertical tastings), at prices ranging up to four figures, but it also has a section of 40 recommended wines under $45 a bottle. (And you're treated with respect whether you're matching several wines to a tasting dinner or quaffing a modest but enjoyable bottle with some oysters at the bar.) Reading the pithy, intelligent characterizations of Rubicon's holdings (arranged by area and vineyard) is an education. You can download the list from the restaurant's Web site, where you can also contact Stone for a consultation about your next meal there.

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