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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.
2006 Sorrentino Falanghina, Versacrum, Italy
Not a grape variety most people know, Falanghina is a true discovery. These white grapes grown on the slopes of Italy's Mt. Vesuvius volcano produce an exotic, crisp wine that is simply delicious with food.
2005 Magito Zinfandel Panorama Blend, California
Rich and lush, this hearty Zinfandel layers on the flavor with a dash of Syrah, Sangiovese, and Merlot blended in the mix. If you're looking for a wine to pair with barbecued ribs, chili, or pepperoni pizza, this is a top pick.
What to Sip: Bacco
Finding parking in the Noe Valley neighborhood that's home to Bacco Ristorante may be the hardest task you'll have during a visit to this delicious spot. The authentic Italian food splashed with California flavor is perfectly complemented by a two-page wine list. Affordable selections -- all from Italy -- offer nearly something for everyone, as well as for every dish. With their melt-in-the-mouth burrata (a mozzarella-based cheese with creamy center) antipasti, order the fresh, full-bodied white, Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina ($33). With Bacco's signature risottos and handmade pastas, you might want to move to a red.
When I nibbled on the pappardelle with a tomato lamb sauce, my choice for vino was the Caprai Montefalco Rosso from Umbria. Well-priced at $42, this smooth, sultry red is a favorite, as is a Rosso di Montalcino. Hailing from the area around the Tuscan hillside village of Montalcino, the Rosso is the less expensive version of Brunello di Montalcino, both made from Sangiovese grapes. Bacco has the lovely, aromatic Caprili Rosso di Montalcino for a cool $48.
End your meal with a glass of either Vin santo dessert wine or lightly fizzy moscato, and you'll feel as if you've been transported to Italy.