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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 Eponymous, MacAllister Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, California $45
Veteran winemaker Bob Pepi's skillful touch shows through in this Bordeaux-style blend from the Golden State. Based upon Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc and Merlot contributing to the mix, it's sultry and smooth. Dark berry flavors back up aromas of licorice, chocolate, and spice. For lovers of rich reds, you'll be in culinary heaven with this wine and a braised lamb shank or a New York strip steak.
What to Sip: What to Sip: La Forêt
Walking into La Forêt, you know you're in for a special meal. Prepare yourself for a wine experience to match. I would encourage lovers of great California Cabernet Sauvignon and French Bordeaux to make a pilgrimage to this bucolic spot -- just make sure you bring your wallet.
Start with classic Champagne, such as Louis Roederer Brut Premier ($68) especially if you've ordered the flavorful smoked salmon appetizer. For white drinkers indulging in the lobster tail entrée or breast of chicken, I recommend the well-priced Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from Napa ($48) or, for a spend-that-bonus splurge, the amazing Joseph Drouhin Montrachet "Marquis de la Guiche" ($375). Made from Chardonnay grapes in the Burgundy region of France, it ranks as one of the world's best white wines.
The real treat, however, lies in the lengthy list of California Cabernet Sauvignons. Vertical offerings (a series of vintages of the same wine) from top producers read like a who's who list of California Cab: Ridge "Monte Bello", Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Cask 23", Robert Mondavi Reserve, Dunn Vineyards, Harlan Estate, Opus One, Heitz, Caymus, and Diamond Creek. to name but a few. You can select lauded vintages dating from 1987 to the present. Prices are steep for these stunning bottles, but fair. For bargain hunters looking to drink well with their Kobe beef or wild game dish, my choice is the Robert Sinskey Merlot from Carneros in Napa ($48).
No meal at La Forêt would be complete without the jaw-droppingly good Grand Marnier soufflé. Delicate and airy, it's a dessert to swoon over. Forgo the sweet wine selections and simply end with a sip of Champagne. Problem is, you might never want to leave.