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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.
Sponsor Wine: 2006 Beringer “Third Century” Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California $14
One of California’s most historic wine producers, Beringer Vineyards is based in Napa Valley. This affordable label is an ode to the company’s heritage as they enter a third century of winemaking. Obviously, experience has paid off. Their Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, refreshing and overflowing with citrus flavors. Enjoy with a wide range of dishes from grilled scallops and fresh greens topped with goat cheese to chips and fiery salsa.
Wine of the Week: 2004 Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, Mountain Cuvée, Napa Valley $35
The Hess Collection, founded by Swiss entrepreneur and art collector, Donald Hess, is located in the rugged Mount Veeder mountains minutes from downtown Napa. This polished red (made with grapes grown at altitudes up to 2,000 feet) is an ultra-smooth blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. With a piece of moist roast beef or a hearty cassoulet, it shines.
What to Sip: La Folie
To fully enjoy La Folie's classic French cuisine, it's best to have a glass of wine in hand. Luckily, the eatery's thoughtful and remarkably well-priced wine list makes it easy to uncork.
Focused primarily on top French wine regions, including Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhone, the list is peppered with interesting American selections from Oregon and California.
My advice is to call owner Roland Passot's brother, Georges, over to the table (he handles all things wine) and have a chat about what you're interested in drinking. He will select a special pairing program for you or make suggestions about what to choose.
I'm impressed with the delicious selection of half bottles on the list. Ordering several of these, which serve around 2-3 glasses, is an ideal route to go especially when pairing with the restaurant's diverse menu. Some of my favorite half bottles include Gosset's elegant Brut Grand Rose Champagne ($54), the crisp white from France, Sancerre Domaine Auchere ($29), or the rich California Chardonnay from Testarossa ($32). For red half bottles, try the fantastic Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir from Oregon ($53) or a beautiful French St. Emilion from Chateau Graves du Bert ($42).
While not shy on mouth-watering splurge wines (anyone up for a Chateau Lafite Rothschild from Bordeaux's heralded 1982 vintage for $1400?), La Folie's wine list offers fair pricing that beats most of the city's chic restaurants.
If you're into just having a lovely bottle of white that won't break the bank, look to the lesser-known Burgundy region of St. Romain for the Domaine Germain priced at $65. Another option is the juicy Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay ($59) from Napa. With Monsieur Passot's hearty French fare, you might want a red from the Rhone area of France, so try the Perrin brothers' Vinsobres "Les Cornuds" for an affordable $47.