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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Locanda Ravello, Café Umami, Main Street Kitchen

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 15 episode 16 airs Thursday, July 16 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

This week, we celebrate teachers with three teacher guests! First up, the flavors of the Amalfi coast bloom at a cozy pizzeria in Danville: Locanda Ravello. Next, Oakland’s Cafe Umami is the perfect spot for nourishing grain bowls crafted by a former microbiologist and brimming with fermented flavor. The final course: seasonal and sophisticated offerings at Walnut Creek’s welcoming Main Street Kitchen.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests on the set of season 15 episode 16. (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.

Maison Bruno Paillard ‘Première Cuvée’ Champagne
France, $45
The style of Bruno Paillard captures the elegance and complexity of world-class Champagne. It’s about the assemblage with this producer. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes from more than 30 Cru vineyards and more than 25 vintages are blended to create this stylishly dry, deliciously layered sparkling. Open the bottle for a splurge night with shellfish, or splurge on yourself and simply pour a glass to savor.


2018 Tornatore Etna Bianco
Sicily, Italy, $30
If you haven’t explored wines made in Sicily, this is a white to seek out. Hailing from the eastern side of the island in the shadow of the volcanic Mt. Etna, it’s made with a local white grape variety named Carricante and crafted in stainless steel to maintain its citrusy freshness. Pair it with anything fresh from the sea or garden. A unique wine with Sicilian flair.

2018 Landform Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon, $25
The name of this wine tells the story. It’s all about the ground as the Grounded Wine Company’s focus is on showcasing a sense of place in each glass. Owner, Josh Phelps, grew up in a family dedicated to wine. His Landform Pinot Noir brings the essence of Oregon’s Willamette Valley to life. It’s sophisticated yet fun with bright red fruit notes shining through. Sure…it’s great with food, but just sip it on your porch with a view of the sunset for an ideal pairing.

2016 Adobe Road Winery 'The 24' Red Blend
Sonoma County, California, $66
In my hometown of Petaluma, California is a place where wine is celebrated and enjoyed. The Adobe Road Winery is the destination, but their wines are the journey. This Rhone-style blend is Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and is spicy and rich. The winery’s roots are in the car racing world and the label pays homage to Rolex, which is the timekeeper for famed car races.

Bodega Gonzalez Byass ‘La Copa’ Vermouth, Extra Seco
Spain, $25
Vermouth is an underappreciated yet historic wine style. It can be red or white, dry or sweet, but it’s always delicious. Fortified wine is aromatized with botanicals from flowers to roots and spices, making for a soothing, satisfying sip. It’s certainly delicious in cocktails, but I enjoy styles like this alone as a pre-dinner drink. From the famous Spanish Sherry producer, González Byass, La Copa is crafted from a family recipe dating to 1896.

Wine and spirits guests drank on the set of season 15 episode 16. (Maya Wise/KQED)

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

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