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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Smelly's Creole, Maison Danel, Roxx on Main

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 17, episode 2, airs Thursday, May 12, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

In the heart of Oakland, Smelly’s Creole serves up the ambitious, signature, soul-inspired dishes Chef Smelly made popular at his previous pop-up. From fries topped with Dungeness crab to garlic noodles brimming with blackened prawns, Smelly merges fresh seafood with Southern style. Then, in San Francisco, we enjoy afternoon tea at Maison Danel, a French “Salon de Thé” known for its flaky, buttery pastries, delicate desserts and brasserie favorites. Finally, in Martinez in the East Bay, Roxx on Main combines locally sourced, organic, sustainable ingredients with a vast wine list to create a unique neighborhood spot, offering live music and entertainment each weekend.

Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Ja'Net Adams, Kalen Lagerquist, and Jill Penman from KQED in San Francisco.

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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.

2019 Sokol Blosser, ‘Bluebird Cuvée’ Brut Sparkling
Willamette Valley, Oregon, $32


Sokol Blosser is my top go-to winery in Oregon. Owned by the Sokol-Blosser family since 1971, they’ve been pioneers sharing the uniqueness of Oregon wines with the world. Their focus on sustainably produced bottlings showcasing the distinctive climate and soil of their hillside vineyards is their hallmark. Usually producers of still wine, their Bluebird Cuvée Brut Sparkling is made in the traditional method aged for 16 months giving it a lush texture but maintaining zesty fruitiness with a dry finish. A beauty for any adventurous bubbly lover to try.

2021 Wölfer Estate Vineyard 'Summer In A Bottle' Rosé
Côtes de Provence, France, $26
If you want to kick off rosé summer season in style, seek out the new stylish rosé from the most noted winery on Long Island, New York -- Wӧlfer Estate. This version isn’t the famed Long Island Wӧlfer pink long been heralded as the East Coast’s best version. It’s a new offering from this historic winery sourced from southern France. It perfectly combines the delicacy and sophistication of Provençal pink while keeping a fresh, fruity American style.

2016 Bertinga Chianti Toscana, IGT
Italy, $75
Class in a glass is the best way to describe the Italian wines of Bertinga. High atop the Tuscan hillsides in Gaiole in Chianti, this historic place produces red wines of impeccable beauty. This sumptuous sipper marries the classic grape of the region, Sangiovese, with equal parts of the international variety Merlot blending the varieties perfectly. Aged in Austrian and French oak for 18 months with another 18 months of aging in bottle, the wine exhibits exotic aromas of red berry, cracked pepper and tea leaves. On the palate it’s smooth and silky but with a slight tannic grip and minerally finish that tells of its singular birthplace. Decant to drink now but age a few more years to gain even more complexity and character.

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

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