This is (part of) the set up for the by-the-glass wine program at chef Michael Leviton's spanking new spot, Area Four, on Main St. between Kendall and Central in Cambridge.
Except for the couple of sparklers on offer, all the wines here come out of stainless steel kegs (tops with their fittings are just visible in the cabinet beneath the countertop). To the left of the six taps in the photo stand rows of pot-bellied tumblers, and the half-liter and one-liter bottles with porcelain stoppers they fill with wine. The prices are mostly a very reasonable $6 / $17 / $32. A few go higher.
I sampled a pair of pinks and three whites, all bright, crisp, lively things that tasted fine on a sweltering afternoon. Particularly pleasing, a suave Finger Lakes riesling from the Gotham Project and a Chilean Pedro Ximenes - a genuine curiosity. One red, identified only as 'North Fork Blend,' was less appealing.
The kegs are pressured with an inert gas and the wine stays fresh a long time - key for a restaurant by-the-glass program. No waste means the house can keep the price down, perhaps 25% lower than if they were pouring from bottles. For wine director Chris Graeff, this was an important selling point. "At the end of the day, it's all about value," he says.
Expect to read more about the wine-in-kegs trend in the Globe's Food pages in the next couple of weeks.
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.