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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Buck's of Woodside, Noodles Pho Me, Gardenias

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 13 episode 4 airs Thursday, May 17 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Americana at its most flamboyant is on display at the Silicon Valley neighborhood eatery Buck's of Woodside. Huge bowls of steaming noodles take center stage on the Laotian-style menu at Noodles Pho Me in San Leandro. Then New American cuisine is the name of the game at Gardenias Restaurant in the Fillmore District of San Francisco.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 4.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 4. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine on set
Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine on set (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, beer and spirits tips with each episode. This week I discuss: Smart and Savvy Women in Wine.

Anna de Codorníu ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Brut Reserva Cava, Spain $15
In business since 1659, the wines of Codorníu have a tad bit of history behind them. As the originators of the Cava category, I think sparklers by Codorníu offer the best value proposition on the market. This Chardonnay-based bubbly honoring the heiress of the family, Anna, also uses the traditional Cava varieties, Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel·lo. It’s classy to look at and to drink. And, at this price, it’s a wine to keep on hand for daily pleasure.


2016 The Larsen Projekt Grenache Rosé, North Coast, California $18
When Robert and Laura Larsen started their vinous passion project, they gave a nod to Robert’s Danish heritage (hence the spelling) and their shared love of Grenache. Add Laura’s artistic touch designing labels, and you get a collaboration worth seeking out. This deliciously crisp and juicy rosé is a world-class pink, but get it quickly as there are only 140 cases for the world.

2014 Camlow Cellars Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California $38
When photographer Alan Campbell and grape grower Craig Strehlow got together, they created a set of Pinot Noirs that focused on the complex intensity of wines from the Russian River Valley. This spicy, elegant sipper (alongside their flagship Camlow Magna Porcum Pinot Noir) is Pinot at its finest. It is a boutique producer with an exciting future.

2014 Veritas ‘Paul Shaffer 6th Edition’ Petit Verdot, Monticello, Virginia $40
I have been writing and speaking about Virginia wines recently because after an extensive tasting and short but diverse visit to the area, I walked away incredibly impressed. These are wines to shout about. One of the superstars of my tasting was the Veritas. It is rare to bottle Petit Verdot alone and this one captures the rich, lushness of the red variety. Named for the winery’s cellarmaster, Paul Shaffer, it’s a wine that would stand easily alongside other Bordeaux-style blends from Napa at twice the price.

Yuzuri Yuzu Liqueur, Japan $40
Liqueurs are not usually my top choice to cover when I veer from wine, but this succulent one won over my heart (or should I say palate?). From the same team that makes the stylish Kikori Japanese Whisky, this citrus-scented sipper is made with yuzu fruit, rice and water. They describe yuzu as the “love child of lemon and mandarin with traces of grapefruit.” It’s tart. It’s sweet. It’s simply delicious. Add to gin and tonic, or top your whiskey. Yes, it is a mixer, but it also stands alone for those of us who love mouth-puckering freshness.

Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 4.
Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 4. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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