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The Best Wine Bar in the Universe?

dissident.jpgI like wine bars. I wish there were more of them around when I was single and had the energy to go out and spend hours on the town with friends. These days I don't get to visit many, thanks to the crazy day job and the little one at home. But if I do end up having a drink after work, chances are, you'll find me at a local San Francisco wine bar, with several glasses in front of me.

Right now, however, the wine bar I want to visit most in the world is in Moscow.

Why? Because I've never seen a wine bar that has a better selection of wines by the glass. Anywhere.

My friend Bert Celce went to Russia recently, and wrote an article about it, but I didn't notice the wine list until my friend Jack who runs the web site Fork and Bottle sent me a note about it being, well, the best wine bar in the Universe.

If you're a wine lover, take a gander at this list, and what you can get by the glass. (I've run the list through Google translate so some of the text on the side is in English). The prices range from moderate ($12 a glass) to pricey ($96 a glass), but the selection of more than 200 wines is purely unbelievable.

Here are a few highlights:

NV Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs "Initial" Brut Champagne, France
2002 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne, France
1997 Diebolt-Vallois Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, France
1991 Philipponnat Sublime Reserve Demi-Sec Champagne, France
2007 Bellavista Franciacorta "Curtefranca", Italy

1994 Pascal Bouchard Chablis Grand Cru "Vaudesir", Burgundy, France
2003 Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Burgundy, France
1996 Domaine Antonin Guyon Meursault Premier Cru "Le Charmes Dessus" Burgundy, France
2001 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc 'Shante-Alouette' Rhone, France
2004 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume 'Pur Sang', Loire, France
2003 Nicolas Joly Coulee de Serrant, Loire, France
2004 Miani Sauvignon Blanc, Friuli, Italy
2001 Valentini Trebbiano D'Abruzzo, Italy
2000 Benanti Pietramarina, Sicily
2002 Weingut Brundlmayer Riesling 'Alte Reben' Zobinger Heiligenstein, Germany
2001 Giaconda "Nantua les Deux" Chardonnay, Australia

1996 Chateau Beausejour-Becot. St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
1996 Domaine de L'Eglise Bordeaux, France
2000 Chateau Calon Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
2005 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Cuvée Réservée", Rhone, France
2002 Nicolas Potel Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Burgundy, France
1996 J. Raphet Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Burgundy, France
1998 Faiveley Corton Clos de Cortons Burgundy, France
2001 J. Grivot Vosne-Romanee Burgundy, France
1992 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon, Rhone, France
2000 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
1998 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
1999 Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico, Campania, Italy
1994 Ornellaia Masseto, Toscana, Italy
2005 Prunotto Barolo "Bussia," Piedmont, Italy
1998 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella, Compolongo di Torbe, Italy
2000 Masciarelli Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Villa Gemma, Italy
2003 Jermann Pignacolusse, Friuli, Italy
1997 J. Drouhin Pinot Noir "Lauren," Oregon
2003 A. Palacios Les Terrasses, Priorat, Spain
1999 Vina Mayor Secreto Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain

I'd call any wine bar that had even half of these wines by-the-glass a world-class destination. Granted, the list is a little weak when it comes to California, Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Austria and Germany. But it's all relative. And yes, paying $55 a glass for a 2005 Prunotto Barolo is a bit excessive. But the point is that you can if you want to.

Read about my friend Bert's visit there.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud