Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Cockscomb, Dobbs Ferry Restaurant, Cafe Gabriela
This week, we start off in San Francisco exploring Cockscomb's rustic cuts of meat and a vast variety of cocktails. Our next stop in San Francisco is Dobbs Ferry Restaurant, an upscale pub offering gourmet comfort food and an expansive drink menu. Finally, we head to Oakland for Cafe Gabriela, a revolutionary eatery known for casual dining with a Filipino-inspired menu.
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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.
J Vineyards Cuveé 20 Sparkling Brut, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California $38
Not only is J Vineyards and Winery an icon California sparkling wine producer, with its myriad visitor center experiences from walking tours to terrace tastings, it’s also a must-visit destination. Their Cuveé 20 bottling is an ode to decades of crafting bubbly. A classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, it sports toasty richness tempered by elegant freshness. With floral aromas followed by exotic candied ginger notes, Cuveé 20 pairs with a wide range of cuisines…or simply with a sunset.
2016 Sea Smoke Cellars Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, California $60
Sea Smoke’s Chardonnay is a special wine from a special place. I’ve visited countless vineyards worldwide over the years and this is truly one of the most magnificent (take a peek at their website for an aerial virtual tour). The name refers to a marine layer that rolls in from the nearby Pacific coast draping the steep vineyard in an airy white mist. Known for coveted Pinot Noir bottlings, Sea Smoke has been quietly crafting Chardonnay and limited-edition sparkling dubbed Sea Spray. This white is barrel fermented with lees aging, which adds layers of creamy complexity. It's lush, but with an alluring streak of acidity and brightness that speaks of its birthplace near the cool seaside.
2016 Dry Creek Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California $35
Dry Creek Vineyard ranks among my favorite producers in California not only for their delicious wines, but the family’s sustained commitment to quality and affordability. In 1972 when Dave Stare founded the winery, he was a pioneer in Dry Creek Valley. Today, his daughter Kim Stare Wallace and her husband, Don Wallace, are at the helm of their 185 acres of estate vineyards. They make top-notch whites like Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, but their Old Vine Zinfandel is a benchmark red. Made with pre-Prohibition era Zin vines, it’s primarily Zinfandel with Petite Sirah and Carignane to add depth. Smoky aromas, wild berry flavors and a supple texture combine in a wine with history.
Thirsty for more beverage advice? You can find some of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.