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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Noe Valley Bakery, Athena Grill, Avatar's Restaurant

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 13 episode 10 airs Thursday, September 13 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

We begin at a mom-and-pop run bakery that supplies breakfast, brunch and lunch - all made in-house, from scratch, at Noe Valley Bakery in San Francisco. Next, we head down to Santa Clara for a traditional Greek menu complete with checkered tablecloths, bold flavors, and flowing wine at Athena Grill. To complete the trio, we land at a spot that combines Indian, Punjabi and Mexican flavors - made with Californian ingredients at Avatar's Restaurant in Sausalito.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of season 13 episode 10.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of season 13 episode 10. (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: barrel-aged clear spirits.

2015 Pahlmeyer ‘Jayson’ Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California $50
When winemaker, Jason Pahlmeyer, began his eponymous Napa winery it created a sensation known for crafting lush, sumptuous wines. The Jayson collection is the producer’s second label, which offers a more restrained style but still with a signature sense of opulence. This full-bodied, tropical-fruit scented Chardonnay is layered with balanced toasty oak notes and a creamy texture. Sipping this beauty is like wrapping yourself in cashmere.


2017 La Nerthe ‘Les Cassagnes’ Rosé, Côtes-du-Rhône, France $20
This rosé is not only one of my top pink picks on the market today, it has an impressive pedigree. The iconic Château La Nerthe is one of the oldest estates in Southern France dating to 1736. Their Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the estate’s flagship wine, but this complex yet succulent dry-style rosé is an insider’s secret. Made from 30-year-old, organically-grown vines, it’s one to seek out and stock up on for year-round drinking.

2016 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva ‘Ribera del Tinguirica’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Marchigue, Chile $17
I can’t speak highly enough of the quality-to-value ratio delivered by Concha y Toro’s Gran Reserva series. The winery is one of the leading producers in Chile, crafting everything from under-$10 sippers to cult collectables. Each of the Gran Reserva wines hails from a single vineyard source planted along a riverbank. This Cabernet showcases intense fruit flavors, a supple texture, and enough structure to age for years. But at the affordable price point, you will definitely want to crack open a bottle and drink it tonight with grilled steak.

2015 Flora Springs ‘Trilogy’ Napa Valley, California $80
I call Flora Springs a quiet classic. Founded in 1978 by the Komes/Garvey families, it has been responsible for keeping Napa Valley history alive. An early adopter of Bordeaux-style reds, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot is a cellar-worthy stunner. Though Trilogy can last for decades, who can wait that long to sip it? Dripping with dark berry fruit, layers of earthy spiciness, and a mouth-filling texture, it’s a wine that offers pure pleasure right now. Go ahead…treat yourself to a special night.

Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 10.
Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 10. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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