Wine Country – Sonoma Coastal Region

When you’re thinking about wine country in California, you are apt to miss the Sonoma Coast, often considered Sonoma’s most enigmatic wine region. From San Pablo Bay, to Mendocino, this AVA gets a direct influence from the Pacific Ocean’s cool, often cold climate.

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Known for creating some of Sonoma Wine Country’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Sonoma Coastal AVA is a contradiction in itself, creating twice the rainfall of any other region, some areas that sit above blankets of fog twice a day, and yet still has enough heat to ripen the grapes to perfection.

Some of my favorite Chardonnay and Pinot from this region are from Patz and Hall as well as Lombardi. Each one has it’s own vibrant, racy and elegant personality that denotes the region within which it was created.

Explore the Sonoma Coastal AVA!

 

Get Your Tickets for Check Please Bay Area Taste & Sip Event April 26!

The Check Please Bay Area Taste & Sip is just a week away! Do you have your tickets yet? If not, what are you waiting for???

 

 

Tickets, as usual, are going VERY fast, but there’s still a chance to come hang out with me Tuesday, April 26th! Last year was a blast and this should be no different, so grab your tickets and come drink and eat with me while we enjoy live music performed by the gorgeously talented Tiffany Austin courtesy of SFJAZZ.

Tiffany Austin

 

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It’s a gorgeous event at the San Francisco Design Center and we have great fun every year. Join me, take a selfie or two on the red carpet and eat and drink to your hearts content!

 

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This year’s Taste & Sip celebrates some of the Bay Area’s most delicious restaurants, wineries and distilleries! 

Food from :

31st Union1300 on Fillmore, Aly’s on Main, Bacon Bacon, Baker Street Bistro, Bistro Liaison, Bistro Viz,Boboquivaris, Buddy’s Bites and Brews, Bull Valley Roadhouse, Camber Montclair & Camber Uptown, Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, Chop Bar – Oakland, Cole’s Chop House, Copita Tequileria y Comida, Cosecha, Davey Jones Deli: Inside the New Bait Shop, Della Santina’s Trattoria and Enoteca Della Santina, DOSAencuentro, Farallon, farmerbrown, Gamine, Green Chile Kitchen, Hana Japanese Restaurant, Hog Island Oyster Co., La Costanera Restaurant, La Mediterranee, Lers Ros, Los Moles, Lovejoy’s Tea Room, M.Y. China, Marnee Thai, Maykadeh Restaurant, Mescolanza Restaurant, Nick’s Crispy Tacos, Old Jerusalem Restaurant, Old Skool Café,Pappo, Paradiso Restaurant, Perbacco, Picán Restaurant, PICANTE, Plaj Restaurant, Poesia, Poggio Trattoria, Sapore Italiano Ristorante, Sauce,Trattoria La Siciliana and Zatar Restaurant and Catering

Wines From:

B.R. Cohn, Balverne Wines, Giesen Wines, Iron Horse Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Joseph Carr, Josh Cellars, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Matua Wines, McEvoy Ranch, Napa Cellars, New Zealand Winegrowers, Pernod Ricard New Zealand, Robert Oatley , Sebright Cellars, Sonoma Coast Vineyards andViansa Sonoma

Spirits From:

Distillery No. 209 Gin and Redemption Rye

 

 

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Weekly Wine Picks : Bubbles, Rosés and Blends

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Ferrari “Perlé” Brut sparkling wine, Trentodoc, Italy ($35)
As a sparkling wine lover, I’m always on the look out for exciting, high-quality bubbly and this wine qualifies. It’s a beauty to savor with food or on its own. You’ll be considered in-the-know by saying “TrentoDOC” (pronounced dock) like the northern Italians do. A special place tucked into the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains outside of the city of Trento, the wines are made in the traditional method and with the same grapes that grow in Champagne, France including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Around 1900, Giulio Ferrari was responsible for bringing those grapes to the Italian region after working in Champagne. From there, one of Italy’s top bubblies was born. The Perlé is made with pure Chardonnay and serves up a sumptuous yet crisp sparkler layered with rich fruit.

2013 J. Lohr “Gesture” Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles, California ($18)
J. Lohr is a winery that has helped put Monterey County on the map. With vineyards in Paso Robles and Napa, as well as Monterey, it’s a California winery with stature and status. Originally conceived to be part of their wine club, the Gesture line focuses on Rhone-style wines such as this appealing pink. Made with Grenache grapes, it’s dry but with succulent red berry fruit flavors and a kick of spice. Don’t worry about pairing it with food (it goes with just about everything), just serve it with special moments in your life.

2012 Doña Paula “Black Edition” red blend, Mendoza, Argentina ($18)
Take a virtual trip to South America for less than $20 with this stupendous buy. Like tango dancers that pair tension with drama, the Black Edition is a red for lovers of sultry blends. Made with a marriage of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon & Petite Verdot, it has enough structure to age up to five years, but is appealingly smooth and ready to drink now. It partners well with hearty dishes like grilled steak or Portobello mushrooms. Stock up and toast me when you open a bottle.

Cheers!!

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Weekly Wine Picks | Rosé, Riesling, Red Wine

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This week, the second episode of season 10, we had amazing guests along with incredible restaurants, and of course we had incredible wine. Check out my tasting notes from this week’s episode!

2013 Maximin Grünhauser Herrenberg “Kabinett” Riesling, Mosel, Germany ($30)
One of my favorite wine types is Riesling because it’s so flexible, pairing with a variety of dishes. Sip as a light-hearted aperitif, match with a hearty brunch, drink with spicy take-out dinner, or just take a glass with you to enjoy with a bubble bath. Dr. Carl von Schubert crafts this classic at the historic winery in Germany’s Mosel region. The area’s steep hillsides and slate-laden soils create wines with aromatic, floral notes and a core of racy minerality. A delicious, delicately sweet wine that has a taste profile to please.

2012 Ousterhout Rosé “Wood’s Vineyard,” Russian River Valley, California ($25)
Family-owned Ousterhout, is a winery quietly making a name for itself. Being a pink wine lover, I’m always on the look out for rosé with character and this one is packed with layers of flavor, elegance and complexity. A whisper of floral aromas is wrapped with strawberry and citrus scents, which is followed with succulent fruit flavors. With only 225 cases made of this wine, it’s a treat to sip. Don’t miss the other pinks in the trio of Ousterhoust rosés. A winning trifecta.

2012 Rodney Strong “Symmetry” Meritage Red Wine, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California ($55)
If wine could win an Oscar, this would take home a statue. The name aptly describes the balance of the wine with the five Bordeaux varieties fitting together seamlessly to achieve wine greatness. Cabernet Sauvignon is the star with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot playing supporting, but important roles. Grapes are grown on rolling hillsides in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. I have sampled young versions of this structured, intense wine and those aged for up to a decade. If you can hold on to the wine for a few years you will be rewarded with a velvety texture that deserves the accolades it’s received as one of California’s icon red blends.

My Favorite Eateries of Check, Please! Bay Area’s Past Seasons

 

We start shooting the newest season of Check, Please! Bay Area in a few weeks so why not catch up on seasons past? Enjoy a walk down memory lane of great restaurants, a jewelry extravaganza, and my ever-changing hairstyles (some pretty bad hair days in those early seasons…ouch).

The hardest part of my job on the show is that I don’t get to give my opinion even though I visit many of the restaurants before shooting. I clench my teeth sometimes when I think the guests have it all wrong, but there’s nothing I can do!

So for the first time, I’ve highlighted my favorite eateries from each season. (BTW: These are only chosen from the restaurants I’ve personally eaten at.) Let me know your thoughts.

Season 9

King of Falafel (SF), Hana (Rohnert Park), 20 Spot (SF), Murray Circle (Sausalito), Old Jerusalem (SF), Maykadeh (SF).

*This is my favorite season for the wine tips series. Don’t miss my tango ode to Argentina and a battle of Spanish wines.

Season 8

Copita (Sausalito), Live Sushi (SF), Bistro Vis à Vis (Greenbrae), Poesia (San Francisco), Willi’s Wine Bar (Santa Rosa), SPQR (San Francisco), Zare at Fly Trap (San Francisco)

Season 7

Park Tavern (San Francisco), Outerlands (SF),  Wexler’s (SF), Big 4 Restaurant (SF), 1300 on Fillmore (SF), Hillstone (SF)

Season 6

DOSA on Fillmore (SF), the girl & the fig (Sonoma), Paxti’s Pizza (SF), Risibisi (Petaluma), The Elite Cafe (SF)

Season 5

Panama Hotel (Marin), La Ciccia (SF), Butterfly (SF), Marnee Thai (SF), Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana (SF), Brown Sugar Kitchen (Oakland), Saha (SF)

Season 4

Mustard’s Grill (Yountville), Acquerello (SF), Poggio (Sausalito), Coco500 (SF)

Season 3

DaFlora (SF), NOPA (SF), Stella Alpina Osteria (Burlingame), The Slanted Door (SF)

Season 2

B44 (SF), La Folie (SF), La Forêt (San Jose), Sociale (SF), Buckeye Roadhouse (Marin)

Season 1

The start of it all! Kokkari Estiatorio (SF), The House (SF), Limon (SF)