Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: R+D Kitchen, Just For You Cafe, Rice Barn Thai Eatery & Wine Bar

28 min

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 15 episode 11 airs Thursday, June 11 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Up in Yountville, impeccably-precise sushi, famous fried chicken sandwiches, and other modern California classics are served with a smile at R+D Kitchen. Next, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch, fluffy beignets take on a starring role in Just For You Cafe’s Americana brunches. Finally, at Rice Barn Thai Eatery & Wine Bar in Vacaville, creative takes on Thai classics and a family-friendly atmosphere greet you with “Welcome home!”

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of season 15 episode 11. (Maya Wise/KQED)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine
Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine (Courtesy of Leslie Sbrocco)

My name is Leslie Sbrocco, and I’m the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. Each week, I’ll share my tasting notes about the wine, beer and spirits the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show.

NV Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Champagne
France, $65
When I talk about Delamotte Champagne, I always say it’s a wine that offers pure pleasure. Sure, their signature Blanc de Blancs is complex and classy, but mostly it’s just a joy to sip. The historic house dates to 1760, so they’ve had a few hundred years to get things right…and right they do. This sparkler is made from Grand Cru Chardonnay grown in the famed chalk soils of the Côte des Blancs in Champagne. Matured for years in bottle to gain creamy complexity, its tightly-wound core of minerality is draped with lemon crème lushness. Treat yourself to this treasure of pleasure.

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2018 Ca' Bolani Pinot Grigio
Friuli Aquileia, Italy, $15
A refreshingly crisp Pinot Grigio coming from an area between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea in Italy. This bucolic wine region is known for producing whites of purity and food-friendly zestiness. Tenuta Ca’Bolani encompasses the largest single vineyard in northeastern Italy and nearly 1,000 cypress trees surround the estate. The beauty of the place certainly translates to this wine. If you’re a lover of Pinot Grigio, it’s an affordable choice that over-delivers on quality. Layers of lemony flavor and a ping of minerality define the wine. Try with grilled fish, summer salads, fresh cheeses, or simply by sitting in the sunshine and enjoying life.

2018 Rocca di Montemassi 'Renaissance' Rosé Toscana IGT
Italy, $15
Stylish packaging and an artful label with Michelangelo imagery is what catches your eye with this wine. However, the deliciously elegant pink inside is the reason to buy it. Italian Rosé is less prominent in the United States, which focuses on versions from the south of France and Spain. But, Rocca di Montemassi 'Renaissance' Rosé is an example of why you should seek out the spicy yet delicate versions from Tuscany.

2018 Rocca di Montemassi 'Le Focaie' Maremma Toscana DOC
Italy, $15
Sangiovese is the star red grape in central Italy’s region of Tuscany. American wine drinkers know and love Tuscan Chianti but are often less familiar with the wines of the Maremma area in coastal, southwestern Tuscany. The iconic Italian wine family, Zonin, owns the stunning Rocca di Montemassi estate where it crafts world-class wines. This Sangiovese-focused red captures the grape variety’s grippy spiciness and wraps it in lush, dark fruit flavors. What a value! I consider it a wine worth twice the price. Spanning the pairing spectrum, it goes with fancy fare like filet mignon as easily as it does with casual burgers or pizza.

2017 Double Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville, Napa Valley, California, $70
When the family-owned Napa Valley producer, Schrader Cellars, released their first Double Diamond in 2001 it was a success. The boutique winery is heralded for age-worthy, world-class bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon, so that was no surprise. But then there was a hiatus in production and the favored wine returned only recently. This 2017 bottling is made by winemaker, Thomas Brown, from fruit grown exclusively in Napa’s Oakville appellation. Its rich, full bodied flair is complemented by a supple structure and concentrated dark fruit notes. It’s a wine to age for a decade, but why wait? Decant and drink now with hearty dishes.

Wine and spirits guests drank on the set of season 15 episode 11. (Maya Wise/KQED)

Thirsty for more beverage advice? You can find more of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.