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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 Swanson Merlot, Oakville, Napa Valley, California $30
Merlot is all about texture and smoothness. Swanson's version (a personal, perennial favorite) captures this plush, chocolaty richness while still managing to maintain vibrant red fruit flavors. Go for comfort food and whip up a gourmet Gruyère-grilled cheese sandwich topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions, then uncork the Merlot. Delicious.
What to Sip: Postrio
Just like Postrio's reputation for world-class quality food, their 33-page wine list reads like a who's who of the wine world. Open to any page and there are discoveries to be savored and enjoyed. I'll admit it: I love this wine list. It's one of the best in the country. Reading the entries I feel like a kid in a candy store who wants to try everything. And, as a diner you simply can't go wrong with any bottle offered.
Pricing is excellent with choices in any price range. You can splurge and spend $2,200 on a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti red Burgundy (one of the most coveted bottles in the world) or discover the owner of DRC's hidden Burgundian treasure, the lovely A & P De Villaine, Mercurey Les Montots ($80). The two pages of red Rhone-style wines include French classics from Chapoutier and Château de Beaucastel, but also lists other unique finds, like the Bay Area's own Jeff Cohn's J.C. Cellars Syrah ($63).
Spanish reds include the powerhouse Vega Sicilia wines, along with superstar Alvaro Palacios, ranging in the hundreds of dollars (and worth it, I might add if money is no object). However, you can order the earthy, elegant Valdubon from Ribera del Duero in Spain, which rings in at around $50 and delivers plenty of pleasure.
Other under-$50 reds to seek out include: Brancott Pinot Noir from New Zealand ($38), Terrazas de los Andes Malbec from Argentina ($47), and Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc from Napa. For whites, there are plenty of great choices hovering in the $40 price point with Ceretto Arneis from Italy, Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier, Joseph Drouhin Saint Veran from Burgundy, and finally Bodegas Palacios Remondo Viura from Spain, an amazingly crisp white for a mere $33.