Half-Life

A wine list for commitment-phobes

Attention sommeliers: Wine guru David Lynch is judging you.

Well, if not you, then your by-the-glass list. For Lynch, BTG is the "true measure of a wine program," more revealing than the by-the-bottle selections.

So it is not surprising that the BTG category has found redemption at Lynch's just-opened wine and beer bar, St. Vincent.

Taking a cue from John Slover in New York, Lynch will open any bottle on his 100-plus list if a guest commits to drinking two glasses of said bottle. If you like the wine, you can buy the rest of the bottle. If not, the remaining half will go up on a chalkboard to be sold by the glass.

This system encourages adventurous drinking, as well as inventive pairings with the punchy dishes of Bill Niles (of Bar Tartine lineage). Commit to a couple of glasses of the funky Kabaj Sivi Pinot Grigio ($40 for 750 ml) to take you through snacks of fried smelt with malted mayo ($10) and bright-pink beet-and-horseradish pickled eggs ($3 each).

Then glance at the board for a glass of red; one person's castoff might be precisely what you were eager to taste–like a Nebbiolo ($45 for 750 ml) from lauded Italian producer Aldo Rainoldi.

St. Vincent, 1270 Valencia St. (at 23rd St.); 415-285-1200 or stvincentsf.com