Bubbles, wine and southern smoked ribs make for a winning combination at a Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ in downtown Napa. Next it’s Parisian classics like steak frites, coq au vin and duck confit at RÊVE in Lafayette. Finally, we settle in to a hip Italian spot with wood-fired pizzas at Fiorella 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: Merlot.
Enza ‘Extra Dry’ Prosecco, DOC Italy $15
When I think of Prosecco, I imagine a taste similar to Enza. Light, refreshing and juicy. This easy-drinking bubbly captures the friendliness of Prosecco at a price that pleases. Made from Glera grapes – the true name for the Prosecco grape variety – in north east Italy’s Prosecco DOC region, it's a fun wine to sip on a summer day.
2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc, North Canterbury, New Zealand $17
The name of this winery describes its wine style – beautiful. Mt. Beautiful is located not in the familiar Marlborough region of New Zealand’s South Island. Rather, it's situated further south in the North Canterbury region. Their range of wines all display a streak of elegance and restraint, but this Sauvignon Blanc truly displays the winery’s philosophy. Not overtly green and grassy, it captures the sun-splashed, citrus-scented fruitiness of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. A classy white.
2014 Domaines Barons de Rothschild ‘Légende’ Saint-Emilion, France $35
The name is lauded in the world of wine – Barons de Rothschild. Most often thought of with high-dollar amounts next to their wines, their Légende’ series is well-priced and educational. By that I mean the goal of the set of five wines is to showcase the diversity and personality of Bordeaux. From their easy-drinking Bordeaux Rouge and Blanc bottlings to the more focused appellation bottlings from the Left Bank classics of Médoc and Pauillac, drinkers can experience a sense of place in the glass. This stylish Right Bank red from Saint-Emilion is a traditional blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. Smooth and supple, it’s like drinking silk.
2015 Pollack Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Monticello, Virginia $30
Cabernet Franc is a grape that I love. Known for creating the Right Bank beauties of Bordeaux’s Saint-Emilion region, it’s emerging as a go-to grape for varietal bottlings from California to Virginia. This one – from the small, family-owned Pollack Vineyards – is lush and ripe. It’s a new-world style from an old-world grape. For the price, it’s also a wine to seek out and enjoy now.
Suntory ‘Toki’ Japanese Whisky $45
With the popularity of Japanese whisky at an all-time high in this country, it’s time to discover the spirit. Suntory's ‘Toki’ is one of my favorite bottles to drink and share with others. The House of Suntory was founded in 1923 and has created the rich history of Japanese whisky. ‘Toki’ means time in Japanese and the idea of heritage and tradition is captured in this spirit. Smooth and lighter in style with an alluring elegance, it’s a whisky I sip alone or top with ice, soda water and a twist of lemon zest for a classic Highball cocktail.