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Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review: Monsieur Benjamin, Aly's on Main, Hog Island Oyster Co.

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 10 episode 9 airs Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Our first visit is a Parisian-style bistro in San Francisco where the modern setting belies the traditional menu at Monsieur Benjamin. Next, a gathering spot for locals desiring a seasonal, contemporary menu at Aly's on Main in Redwood City. And finally, this bayside location with stunning views serves up the ultimate in fresh and local seafood at Hog Island Oyster Company in San Francisco's Ferry Building.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of the ninth episode of season 10.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of the ninth episode of season 10. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Check, Please! Bay Area host 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 tips with each episode. This week I discuss: East Bay Urban Wineries.

2012 Cobb Pinot Noir “Diane Cobb: Coastlands Vineyard,” Sonoma Coast, California ($90)
Drinking Ross Cobb’s Pinot Noirs is a vinous treat. This one in particular, is a true indulgence. Small production, vineyard designate wines with balanced alcohol are his hallmark and this is a shining example of what Cobb is all about. Hailing from a prized block of the Coastlands vineyard, it is an ode to his mother Diane, a pioneer in planting the Sonoma Coast. A bit richer than other bottlings, it’s an exotic, silky red with impeccable style. Watch for the current release 2013, too.


2012 Duckhorn Vineyards, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Knights Valley, California ($45 half bottle)
I call this a “belly-button sipper” because you only need to savor a small amount to make a big statement. Sauvignon Blanc grapes have been left to hang on the vine an extra month until ultra ripe, then a few precious drops are squeezed from each grape and crafted into liquid gold. Floral and honeyed aromas are layered with sweet, succulent fruit notes. It’s an ideal foil for hard, salty cheeses or simply enjoyed as a stand-alone dessert (especially if served from a belly button).

2012 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay, Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand ($35)
Kumeu Chardonnay is the ultimate insider’s wine. Recognized by those in the know, it ranks among the best versions of the variety in the world. Owned by the Brajkovich clan – one of the founding families of New Zealand’s wine business – the winery is based outside of Auckland on the country’s north island. This Chardonnay is a blend of six different vineyard sites, hand harvested, and barrel fermented with native yeast giving layers of complexity. It can be drunk young, but the Kumeu wines benefit from cellaring so pick up a few bottles and begin your journey.

2013 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile ($23)
From the historic Chilean producer, Concha y Toro comes a brand to discover. The Marques de Casa Concha wines offer some of the most highly rated (yet affordable) wines in Chile. This one in particular serves up value and collectability on a super-sized scale. Grapes for the Cabernet come from the vineyard that creates Concha y Toro’s signature red, Don Melchor. It showcases earthy, peppery aromas followed by deep, saturated red fruit flavors and polished tannins. It will age beautifully for years to come, but if you can’t wait just decant then serve alongside a grilled steak for a perfect night.

Wines that guests drank on the set of the ninth episode of season 10.
Wines that guests drank on the set of the ninth episode of season 10. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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