Mezcal, mole and a "muy especial" vibe will have you saying "si" to salsa and spicy sips at Agave Uptown in Oakland. Next, serving up rustic pastas, Fairfax's Sorella Caffe is a family-friendly, homey eatery that's stayed true to its roots. Finally, One Market Restaurant pioneered farm-to-table cooking long before it was trendy. Just steps from the Bay, it's been an epicurean's haven for more than twenty-five years.
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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: Limoncello.
Shingleback ‘Black Bubbles’ Sparkling Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia $25
Take a trip “down under” with Shingleback’s fun fizz. This deep-purple, slightly sweet red sparkling wine is a novelty to Americans. In Australia, however, sparkling Shiraz is a holiday classic. When it’s hot outside in December, they serve it ice cold with Christmas fare. Here in the States, I like to introduce red wine lovers to the unique bubbly paired alongside dark chocolate and tangy ribs slathered in barbecue sauce.
2016 Chateau Bonnet Rosé, Bordeaux, France $16 (2017 current vintage)
With the popularity of pink wine these days, it’s worth looking outside the south of France for options. Bordeaux is a place to discover when it comes to Rosé. Several years ago I spent a week there enjoying Rosés in all styles from light to rich and pale to dark-hued. This example from Lurton is one of my favorites. Crafted from equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s medium-bodied with a garnet color. A dry, delicious pink wine ideal for year-round sipping.
2015 Talbott ‘Sleepy Hollow Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California $42
Since 1982, the Talbott family has been making iconic wines in Monterey County. Their Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir is an example of why the wines are known for their Burgundian-style but California heritage. It’s saturated with red-berry fruit notes underscored with earthy, spicy complexity. Add a medium-full body and supple texture, and you have a wine that’s the best of Old World influences with New World exuberance.
2015 Miner Family ‘Emily’s’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California $50
To experience a family-run winery in Napa, make sure to stop at Oakville’s Miner. With family members firmly at the helm for more than 20 years, it is a winery that focuses on expressing the character of their Napa Valley vineyards. None of their wines does it better than the ‘Emily’s’ Cab, which is named to honor co-founder, Emily Miner. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon rounded out with Merlot and Petit Verdot, it’s an elegant red with a powerful personality. An age-worthy wine that can be cellared for a decade, it’s also smooth enough to decant and drink tonight. A portion of proceeds from this wine are donated to cancer research.