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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 the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show. Also, in my "What to Sip" suggestions, I choose one restaurant from each show and offer tips for selecting libations to enjoy with your meal.
Wine of the Week:
2004 Wente “Crane Ridge” Merlot, Livermore Valley, California $20
Sipping this supple Merlot, it’s easy to understand why the variety is America’s favorite red. Wente is the flagship winery in historic Livermore Valley wine country located east of San Francisco. Blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbara, the Crane Ridge Merlot combines power with dark fruit aromas and lush smoothness. Uncork alongside veal, filet mignon, or full-flavored cheeses.
What to Sip: Millennium and Medjool
For those veggies, vegans and anything-but-meat eaters out there, Millennium is a must-stop. Vegetarian dishes are complemented by a savvy wine list focused on bottles that are either made from organically or sustainably-grown grapes, and those using biodynamic production techniques. Bubbly lovers should give the Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant d’Alsace Rosé a try. Priced at under $40, it’s a dry-styled sparkler that will pair with any menu option. A real find is the elegant Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Domaine de Brailles ($60). Hailing from the lesser-known Pernand-Vergelesses area of France’s Côte d’Or, it’s a silky beauty.
The hip restaurant-cum-nightclub, Medjool, has an enviable wine list, too. There’s much to be said for restraint when it comes to a well-chosen list. Bigger is not always better. This one-page list is organized by style category with headers such as “voluptuous whites and vivacious reds.” Winners abound with pricing mostly in the under $50 category. My don’t-miss wines include the luscious white blend of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, and Aligote from Au Bon Climat in California’s Santa Maria Valley ($38) and the eclectic, earthy red, Cuvée Rouge from Chateau Musar in Lebanon ($38). Both of these selections are ideal with the Mediterranean-influenced cuisine served up at Medjool.