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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Acacia House by Chris Cosentino, Iyasare, Franciscan Crab Restaurant

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 13 episode 7 airs Thursday, July 19 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Acacia House by Chris Cosentino, the Top Chef Master’s newest restaurant, draws on the bounty of its Napa Valley setting to offer dishes like lamb tartare and Iberico pork schnitzel paired with local wines. Next, from bacon-wrapped mochi to Okonomiyaki pancakes, elevated Japanese comfort food delights at Iyasare in Berkeley. And, sizzling seafood platters served alongside sensational Bay views has kept Franciscan Crab Restaurant a Fisherman’s Wharf mainstay for more than sixty years.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 7.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 7. (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.

Rebuli “Extra Dry” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Veneto, Italy $23
As a sparkling seeker, I am always on the lookout for unique bubblies. Prosecco from northern Italy is ubiquitous, but not ones from the designated DOCG Valdobbiadene area. Located a few hours north of Venice, is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. For more than four decades the Rebuli family has been producing high-quality sparkling from this place (though they have been growing grapes for generations). Sporting a whisper of sweetness, which oddly enough is what the Extra Dry category means, the wine is crisp yet creamy with an appealing fruit-driven elegance.


2016 Frog’s Leap Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California $32

I have long been a fan of the wines from Frog’s Leap. With a Napa pedigree dating to 1980, the winery has always been about quality, authenticity, and a sense of fun. This balanced Chardonnay expresses the philosophy of letting the organically-grown grapes speak. Fermentation in oak barrels gives a richness, which is complemented by aging on the lees in concrete tanks. Its not about hitting you over the head with oak character, it’s about deftly crafting a wine that shows off purity of fruit.

2015 Windchaser Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California $40
What do you name a winery that celebrates winemaker Dave Gifford’s passion for windsurfing? Windchaser, of course. This stylish Pinot Noir captures the rich, spiciness of grapes grown in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. It’s a wine made with minimal intervention leaving the sense of place to shine through.

2015 Quinta de Roriz “Prazo de Roriz” Douro, Portugal $15 (current release is 2016)
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Portuguese wine. And, not just the famed dessert sipper, Port. No, whether it’s sparkling wine from Bairrada or Alvarinho from Vinho Verde, distinctive wines abound in this small country. One of the most recognized producers of Port, the Symington family, is also hailed for their dry reds from the Douro Valley made in partnership with Bordeaux’s Bruno Prats. This great-value red blends mainly native grapes Touriga Franca, Touringa Nacional, and Tinta Roriz. Light and bright yet still substantial on the palate, it’s a wine to enjoy now or age up to five years.

Venus Barrel Aged Gin Blend No. 2, California $40
Sean Venus – yes, his real name – is a distiller of small-batch spirits from whiskey to gin. His operation is based in Santa Cruz, California known for its population of free-spirited individuals (pun intended). With retro-chic, American-oak aged Gin a draw for those in the know, Venus is getting his share of attention. This earthy, herbal, vanilla-scented spirit is one to track down and try. It’s out-of-this world delicious.

Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 7.
Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 7. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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