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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: 2004 Beringer “Third Century” Merlot, North Coast, California $14
An ode to Beringer Vineyards’ centuries-old history of winemaking, the Third Century wines are all about easy enjoyment. Merlot is one of America’s favorite wines because it captures red berry elegance paired with a smooth texture. This version also offers a hint of herbal complexity, which makes it an ideal complement to a steaming bowl of lentil or tomato soup.
Wine of the Week: 2005 Justin "Savant" Paso Robles, California $45
Paso Robles, located on the central coast of California, is a rising-star wine region. Highly regarded for intense Zinfandels, the area is also producing unique blends. One such marriage of grapes is "Savant," from the beautiful Justin winery. A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this polished, velvety red is full of rich flavors and smoky aromas. Drink now with rib roast or lamb shank, or if you have the patience, age it for five years or so.
What to sip: Central Market
Historic downtown Petaluma is home to quaint streets lined with antique stores and restaurants. One of the busiest spots for dining is Central Market. Focusing on home-cooked, hearty fare, the wine list is ideally tailored to the cuisine. Though small -- just two pages long -- the wines listed are well chosen and well priced. Organized by style, from Crisp and Floral whites to Rich and Fruity reds, almost all selections are tagged under $50 with many hovering in the $20 range. There are worldwide offerings, such as a Gascon Malbec from Argentina at $32, or Heron Pinot Noir from France for $30, but you should explore the delicate dry rosé from local Petaluma producer, Keller Estate ($30). If you're up for spending a bit more, order the hard-to-find Kistler Chardonnay, Les Noisetiers, for $75. You better hurry though. At that price I may just go through all the Kistlers before you get to Central Market.