This week we visit with a mom, pop and their three daughters for traditional Mexican fare in Vallejo at Los Arquitos Restaurant. Next we step into the saffron-hued dining room of San Francisco’s Lavash Restaurant for classic Persian flavors. Finally, we step back to a previous episode to revisit the Italian flair found at Seven Hills Restaurant in San Francisco.
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, beer and spirits tips with each episode. This week I discuss: Absinthe.
Ferrari Rosé, TrentoDOC, Italy $35
A lesser-known, but incredibly high-quality area for sparklers is the Italian region dubbed TrentoDOC (pronounced TrentoDock). Ferrari has had roots in the northern Italian growing and producing region, which surrounds the city of Trentino, since the early 1900s. Today, this Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-based bubbly made in the classic method is revered among the top ranks of Italy’s sparkling wines.
2015 Groth ‘Hillview Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California $32
The Groth family began their vinous journey in Napa in 1981. Since then, they have made a name for themselves as one of California’s top family-owned wineries. I’m a fan of Groth’s sleek, powerful bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon, but this Chardonnay carries on their tradition of crafting complex wines with a high deliciousness factor. Fermentation in both old and new barrels, in addition to stirring of the lees, results in a Chardonnay with a creamy yet crisp character. The wine is balanced with fruit, spice, and oak notes forming a triangle of flavor perfection.
2014 Concha y Toro ‘Gran Reserva’ Ribera del Tinguirrica Malbec, Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley, Chile $17
Many American wine drinkers think that the Malbec is only from Argentina. Not true. There are delicious versions hailing from neighboring Chile, too. Classic producer, Concha y Toro’s lineup of wines is diverse, but their Gran Reserva wines rank among the best values on the market today. This Malbec, with a splash of Syrah, is from old vines planted on the hills near the banks of the Tinguiririca River. With dark berry intensity and a peppery finish, it’s a wine that is smooth and supple while still possessing fresh acidity and fruity brightness.
2014 Benziger Family Winery Merlot, Sonoma County, California $19
Since the early 1970s, the Benziger family has been a leader in California for certified sustainable and biodynamic viticulture. Their wines are well-crafted and aimed at respecting the vineyards, which show in the final bottlings. This Merlot is supple and velvety with a dark fruit character and hint of cocoa aromas. It’s what a Sonoma Merlot should be…and at a price that makes it easy to drink and enjoy daily.
2013 Beaulieu Vineyard BV ‘Reserve Tapestry’, Napa Valley, California $61
Talking about historic producers of the Napa Valley inevitably leads to Beaulieu Vineyard, known as BV. Meaning “beautiful place” in French, the legendary Georges de Latour founded the property with his wife in the early 1900s. It now ranks among the most celebrated wineries of California and the Georges de Latour namesake Cabernet Sauvignon among the best of the best. The Tapestry is a blend of five Bordeaux grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. From the heralded 2013 vintage, it’s a wine to cellar for up to a decade or more. Saturated fruit flavors are wrapped in complex aromas of dark chocolate, mineral-laden earthiness, and even rose petals. Shored up with a structured core of balanced acidity and polished tannins, it’s a wine that reaches the heights of great reds. The quality of the 2013 Tapestry easily soars above blends that are twice the price.