Wine Week uncorks free tastings

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NEW YORK -- Eight of this city's finest restaurants will treat their lunchtime patrons to samples of as many as eight fine wines for free during National Wine Week, March 22 to 26.

The participating New York eateries, members of the New York Restaurant group, are all in midtown Manhattan. They include Smith & Wollensky and Wollensky's Grill, Third Avenue at 49th Street, (212) 753-1530 and (212) 753-0444; Maloney & Porcelli, between Park and Madison avenues on 50th Street, (212) 750-2233; Cite and Cite Grill, 51st Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, (212) 956-7100 and (212) 956-7262; the Manhattan Ocean Club, between Fifth and Sixth avenues on 58th Street (212) 371-7777; the Post House, 63rd Street between Park and Madison avenues, (212) 935-2888, and the Park Avenue Cafe, corner of Park Avenue and 63rd Street, (212) 644-1900.

Among the wines being freely poured will be Heitz Bella Oaks, Grgich Hills Cellar, Far Niente, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Perrier-Jouet and Chateau Phelan-Segur. Chateau and winery owners, or their representatives, will be on hand to pour and discuss their wines.

Although the quantity of each wine poured is more like a tasting, the eight selections add up to a respectable amount of wine. Patrons also can purchase a glass or bottle of any of the wines poured.

In its 13th year, Wine Week is the brainchild of restaurateur Alan Stillman, who created the event in 1986 as a way for his patrons to sample fine wines they otherwise could not afford at one sitting. Stillman also uses the promotion to show off his restaurants to the city's residents and visitors. Wine Week is celebrated twice a year, generally in the spring and fall.

The expansion of Smith & Wollensky restaurants to Miami Beach, Chicago, New Orleans and Las Vegas has added four more restaurants to the promotion. Wine Week, Phone: (800) 638-6449, Ext. 51

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