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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Top Hatters Kitchen, KINSmoke, Reem's California Mission

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 17, episode 4, airs Thursday, May 26, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

In San Leandro, Chef DanVy at Top Hatters Kitchen and Bar cooks up rustic, made-from-scratch dishes, fusing Vietnamese and California flavors. Then, in Healdsburg, KINSmoke specializes in “the art of barbeque,” smoking ribs, brisket and chicken over Californian oak and cherry wood, served with five regional housemade sauces. Finally, Reem’s California Mission brings the flavors, aromas and warmth of the modern Arab street corner bakery to San Francisco’s Mission District.

Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Mark P. Dorsey, DeAndre Bess, and Sarah Behrens 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.

2018 Agustí Torelló Mata Trepat Rosat Brut, Cava
Spain, $24


Cava is Spain’s special sparkling wine. It means ‘cellar’ in the local Catalan language and these beautiful bubbles are made in the traditional method. This means the second fermentation that produces the sparkle are created within each bottle. The wine is then aged in the bottles in the cellar for two years. This garnet pink fizz is fun and fresh having been made with the native grape variety Trepat. It’s plushly styled full of strawberry and cherry flavors with a dry finish. This famed family-run producer began in 1955 and is known for crafting many of the best Cavas on the market today.

2020 Flora Springs ‘Soliloquy’ White Wine
Napa Valley, California, $50

Flora Springs is one of Napa Valley’s classic producers and this white wine is one of the most special. Named for their proprietary Sauvignon Blanc clone, Soliloquy, it took the Komes family nearly eight years of research and work to bring this nearly extinct vine back to life. Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc is blended with Chardonnay and Malvasia to create an exotic white that is singular in its structure and taste. Floral aromas swirl together with citrusy and stone fruit complexity on the nose. On the palate the Chardonnay rounds out the texture serving up a fleshy yet still fresh texture. Treat yourself to a white wine unlike any other.

2019 Chateau du Moulin- à-Vent, Moulin-à-Vent Beaujolais
France, $40

Beaujolais is one of France’s noted wine regions. Typically, thought of for fresh, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s so much more than that. Located in the south of Burgundy, the region is comprised of smaller appellations or Crus, which produce world-class red wines made from the Gamay grape variety. One of these Crus is named Moulin-à-Vent. The winery, Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent, is a named for a 300-year-old stone windmill and has a centuries-rich history. With a deep ruby hue and aromas of cherry, earth and spice, the elegant texture and long finish of this wine is deeply impressive. Serve alongside pork loin in mushroom sauce or with grilled salmon and herbed rice.

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

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