We start with a sip of sherry and savory bites from Spain at La Marcha Tapas Bar in Berkeley. Then we globetrot to Southeast Asia for a bowl of Drunken Noodles and more, in the contemporary environ of Arun Thai in Novato. Finally, we indulge our Cal cuisine cravings at Copper Spoon Cocktails & Kitchen in Oakland.
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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: Cava.
Thibaut-Janisson ‘Blanc de Chardonnay’ Sparkling Wine, Virginia $34
When I tasted this, I was convinced it was sparkling wine from France. Complexity coupled with creamy crispness made me think I was sipping a high-end, grower Champagne. Well, that wasn’t too far from the truth. I was simply in the wrong country. This beautiful wine is from Virginia. That’s right…Virginia. A state now ranking high on my list of great wine regions in the United States. This bubbly is crafted by Claude Thibaut and Manuel Janisson, both of whom bring generations of tradition from their homeland of Champagne, France. (I knew Champagne had to figure in somewhere with this gorgeous wine.) Crafted from all chardonnay grapes in the traditional method, it’s a sparkling that deserves accolades.
2017 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio, Trentino DOC, Italy $11
Typical Italian Pinot Grigio is like a good friend – fun and easy to enjoy. This Pinot Grigio, however, is more like your BEST friend – smart, stylish and full of character. Made from fruit grown in the shadow of the towering Italian Alps in a valley carved by the Adige river, this Pinot Grigio has intense citrus and apple flavors. There’s a mouth-watering mineral streak at its core and a lip-smacking finish that makes it ideal with food from fresh salads to tangy cheeses and light pasta dishes. I visited the Mezzacorona winery recently and fell in love with the beauty of the city of Trento and the surrounding area. I know this wine is crafted with care and more importantly, overdelivers on the price point. And, just like your best friend…it will always make you smile.
2013 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Italy $38
When we speak of history in the wine world, hardly anything can compare to the 26 generations of Antinoris that have been producing wine since 1385. Their Chianti Classico Riserva demonstrates why they have been at the top of their game for so long. It’s a red wine with attitude and pedigree. Made from Sangiovese grapes with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon hailing from the prized Chianti Classico zone in Tuscany, it’s been aged in barrel for several years and bottle since the fall of 2015. This extra ageing gives the elegantly earthy, tannic red time to relax into itself and express its layers of flavor and complexity. This is not a cocktail sipper. It’s a structured wine meant for the dinner table. Pair with braised meats, pasta with savory marinara sauce and pungent, aged cheeses. It’s a classic to stock your cellar by the bottle…or case.
RE:FIND [e] VODKA FINISHED IN BARREL, Paso Robles, California $60
As a fan of wines from the rugged Paso Robles wine region of California, I was duly impressed when I sampled the unique spirits from the owners of Villicana Winery.
Alex and Monica Villicana are an entrepreneurial and creative duo who have been turning wine “leftovers” into liquid gold. The idea of RE:FIND began when the eco-conscious couple was looking for a way to use their saignée, or extra free run juice. They decided to turn wine in to vodka, and a business was born. They handcraft gin, vodka, bourbon, and more using grapes. This grape-based vodka is aged in barrels giving it a whisky-esque character with spicy, full-bodied flair. It’s worthy of drinking neat or in a top-notch cocktail. I hope you find RE:FIND. I’m sure you’ll be just as impressed.