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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Backdoor Bistro & Wine Bar, Kingdom of Dumpling, John Ash & Co.

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 11 episode 7 airs Thursday, May 26 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Local chef, born and bred in the East Bay, sources local farm fresh ingredients for her California-casual spot at Backdoor Bistro & Wine Bar in Vacaville. Then a San Francisco hole-in-the-wall eatery serves-up tongue-burning, steaming-morsels at Kingdom of Dumpling. Finally, elegant, sophisticated and seasonal wine country cuisine excels at John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 7 of season 11.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 7 of season 11. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine.
Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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, beer, and spirits 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: wine and chocolate pairing.

2011 Biltmore Estate Chateau Reserve Brut Blanc de Blancs, North Carolina $30
One of the most famous and beautiful properties in North America, the Biltmore estate dates to 1895 and was built by George Vanderbilt. Vineyards were planted on the property in 1971 and today produce world class wines including this Chardonnay-focused sparkler. Crisp and dry with a luscious mouthfeel and freshly-baked bread aromas, it’s a classy bubbly that will surprise and please. Uncork a bottle to celebrate something special or simply to toast a Tuesday night.


2014 Robert Oatley Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, Western Australia $18
Imagine Sonoma’s scenic coastline with warm water and expansive beaches and that’s what you get in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. As remote (a six-hour flight from Sydney) as it is pristine, Margaret River is home to noted Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. Robert Oatley is an iconic Aussie producer and winemaker Larry Cherubino crafts SB with citrus-scented purity. Sip it alongside grilled fish, tangy cheese, and fresh salads for a vinous visit Down Under.

2011 Duckhorn Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, California $72
Duckhorn Vineyards ranks among my Grand Cru producers in California. It also sits with the best international wineries on my worldwide “top wineries” list. Known for structured Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s rare to find a single varietal bottling of another famed Bordeaux grape, Cabernet Franc. But, Duckhorn has been crafting intense yet elegant versions for years. I can pick out their Cab Franc because of its signature mineral, rose petal and blueberry aromas along with a silky yet plush mouthfeel. This is a stunner and one wine collectors and appreciators should seek out to cellar or simply enjoy with dinner.

Wines that guests drank on the set of the seventh episode of season 11.
Wines that guests drank on the set of the seventh episode of season 11. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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