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Luka's Taproom, King of Falafel, La Costanera: Check, Please! Bay Area reviews

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Check, Please! Bay Area's ninth season episode 12 (#912) profiles and reviews these three Bay Area restaurants:

1) Luka's Taproom & Lounge: | restaurant information + video | reviews

2) King of Falafel: | restaurant information + video | reviews [CLOSED]

3) La Costanera Restaurant: | restaurant information + video | reviews

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Leslie SbroccoMy 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 Luca “Laborde Double Select” Syrah, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina ($24)
Luca is not only the name of her son, but also this line of classy wines by vintner Laura Catena. An Argentinian who lives in the United States, Laura hails from wine royalty as her father, Nicolás Catena of Catena Zapata, is one of the founders of modern Argentina wine. This intensely hued and deeply powerful wine is made with vines that are an average of 50 years old and planted at at 3,500 feet altitude in the Uco Valley. It’s a stunning wine for lovers of big reds (especially for the price!).

2012 Reata Chardonnay, Carneros, California ($25)
I’m a huge of Chardonnay. Balanced, mouthwatering yet rich styles are what I crave and that is exactly what Reata makes. Grapes hail from the cool Carneros region straddling Napa and Sonoma allowing them to get ripe, full flavors, but maintain their acidity and brightness from cool nights. This wine is aged in half stainless steel and other half in oak barrels creating the perfect balance of crisp fruit notes and a creamy texture. It’s a wine at home with salmon dishes as well as pork chops bathed in mustard sauce.

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 sleek texture. It’s class in a glass.

2011 Jamieson Ranch “Double Lariat” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California ($55)
You might expect to pay twice the price for a cellar-worthy, classy Napa Cabernet such as this one. The Double Lariat is powerful and structured but already drinking as smooth as silk. Both fermented and aged in barrel to allow for more complexity, aromas of cocoa and brown spices pair with rich, dark berry fruit notes and supple tannins, which give layers of lushness to the wine. Drink with simple grilled steak for a perfect pairing (just make sure to decant several hours ahead of time).

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