Check, Please! Bay Area Season 11 episode 13 airs Thursday, September 29 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

We begin in the North Bay with Cal-fresh ingredients turned into Caribbean flavors at Whipper Snapper Restaurant in San Rafael. Next, we find a contemporary spot offering traditional Italian fare hidden in plain sight in an Alameda shopping mall at Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails. Finally, find made from-scratch modern German fare along with the largest selection of German beers in the East Bay in Berkeley at Gaumenkitzel German Restaurant, Beer and Wine Bar.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 13 of season 11.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 13 of season 11. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine.
Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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, beer, and spirits the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show. I will also share some wine tips with each episode. This week I discuss: What is Grappa?

2015 Rose infinie Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France $16
I first met winemaker and owner of Rose infinie, Benjamin Mei, when he was making wine in Chile. A Frenchman by birth and from Provence nonetheless, after working around the world he headed home to indulge his longtime passion for pink. His second vintage of Rose infinie captures the beauty of not only rosé, but of the famed Provencal style. It’s delicate yet complex and drinkable yet makes you think. With floral notes wrapped around citrus and bright cherry fruit, it’s a seductive wine offering pure pleasure. The packaging is also compelling. Reminiscent of roses, it’s one of the most romantic designs I’ve seen. Overall, it’s a wine to love.

2014 Donnafugata “SurSur” Grillo, Sicilia D.O.C, Italy $20
Donnafugata is a Sicilian star. Known for crafting world class wines, this whimsical bottling captures their creative side. SurSur is made from Grillo (pronounced gree-lo), which is the signature white variety of Sicily. Grillo means cricket and in Arabic — a language once spoken in Sicily — SurSur means the same. It’s a crisp, pithy wine with explosive Meyer lemon aromas that pairs perfectly with dishes from the sea. Think fish tacos, grilled octopus, and ceviche. (The current release is 2015)

2014 Villa Pozzi Nero d’Avola, IGT Sicily, Italy $10
Nero d’Avola is the darling of Sicily. A red grape variety that’s known for its concentrated richness, it also produces bright and vibrant styles. This succulent red captures the dark fruit quality of the grape while maintaining its freshness. At an affordable price, it’s a casual wine for everyday enjoyment.

2014 Macchia “Gracious” Graciano, Lodi, California $25
In the Spanish region of Rioja, the grape Graciano is known to impart an inky concentration to red blends. Rarely have I seen it planted in California as it’s a tricky variety. However, I discovered Macchia’s version and am impressed. Lush with juicy flavors and plush in texture, it shows New World fruit with Old World character. Winemakers Tim and Lani Holdener started the winery in 2001 and reds are their passion. You can tell with this bold, graciously-styled wine.

Wines that guests drank on the set of the thirteenth episode of season 11.
Wines that guests drank on the set of the thirteenth episode of season 11. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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