My name is Leslie Sbrocco and I'm the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. Each week, I will be sharing my tasting notes about the wine the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show. I will also share some wine (beer and spirits) tips with each episode.
2011 Jim Barry “The Lodge Hill” Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia ($18)
If you think Aussie Shiraz is only big and bold, you haven’t sipped this wine. These Shiraz grapes adore growing in the cooler climate of a place called Clare Valley. The Clare -- as locals know it -- isn’t really a valley rather a series of hills and vales in South Australia. The soil, site and sun, along with the dipping evening temperatures combine to create wines of elegance. This beauty is sleek, spicy, and complex. The charming Barry family is firmly the helm of the company and known throughout the world for their stylish wines.
2012 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Vermentino, Toscana, Italy ($15)
Looking for an alternative white to welcome summer? Look no further than Vermentino. An Italian white variety, it makes wines that are exotic, full bodied and loaded with succulent fruit flavors. This bottling – from one of Italy’s top producers – comes from the heart of the Maremma region in Tuscany. Grapes grown at the scenic estate of Ammiraglia, enjoy sun and sea breezes bringing ripeness and vibrancy to the luscious white. It’s a winner with any type of fish, salads and simple roast or grilled chicken.
2012 Reata “Three County” Pinot Noir, California ($35)
Reata comes from the Spanish word for lariat and symbolizes the uniqueness of each handcrafted wine in their portfolio. This Pinot Noir is a powerful blend of grapes from three California counties, Sonoma, Monterey and San Benito. The aromas are reminiscent of dark berry fruit with a hint of vanilla and spice. Tannins are well balanced and smooth giving the wine an overall silky texture. It’s class in a glass.
2012 Light Horse Chardonnay, California ($15)
This is the kind of Chardonnay you’ll want to sip from poolside to tableside. Expressing ripe fruit notes it also captures the brightness and lightness of Chardonnay. With just a kiss of oak to add complexity, this is a wine for enjoying alone or with a wide variety of dishes from salmon in a mustard sauce to soft cheese topped with spicy chutney. The brand belongs to Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, which has formed the Light Horse Foundation. A portion of all wine sales go to the foundation assisting high-risk individuals afflicted with autism. So, drink well and do good at the same time. I’ll toast to that.