Contigo, Smoke Berkeley, Paradiso: Check, Please! Bay Area reviews

Check, Please! Bay Area’s ninth season episode 2 (#902) profiles and reviews these three Bay Area restaurants:

1) Contigo: | restaurant information + video | reviews

2) Smoke Berkeley: | restaurant information + video | reviews

3) Paradiso: | restaurant information + video | reviews

Other ways to watch the episode online (and on video iPod):
Download episode (requires iTunes or QuickTime)
Subscribe to Video Podcast

Leslie SbroccoMy 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. I will also share some wine (and beer and spirits) tips with each episode.

2012 Rib Shack Red Vintage Blend, South Africa ($12) — This a big-boy red, just like the name implies, is a wine that pairs with meat (and especially ribs) with ease. Hearty with a touch of smoky aromas, it’s a blend of two red grapes –Shiraz and Pinotage. The latter is South Africa’s unique red variety, which is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Often a little lean on its own, Pinotage plays very well with Shiraz creating a blend of earthy richness.

2013 Douglas Green “the beach house” Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa ($9) — This wine is a crowd pleaser. Nothing serious or stuffy here, just a wine that’s pure fun to sip. Zesty and juicy, it captures a ping of citrusy freshness that makes it a white to imbibe beachside or tableside with salads, light fish dishes, and spicy cuisine. Make sure to stock up, you’ll drink it quickly.

2012 Reata Chardonnay, Carneros, California ($25) — I’m a huge of Chardonnay. Balanced, mouthwatering yet rich styles are what I crave and that is exactly what Reata makes. Grapes hail from the cool Carneros region straddling Napa and Sonoma allowing them to get ripe, full flavors, but maintain their acidity and brightness from cool nights. This wine is aged in half stainless steel and other half in oak barrels creating the perfect balance of crisp fruit notes and a creamy texture. It’s a wine at home with salmon dishes as well as pork chops bathed in mustard sauce.

2011 Jamieson Ranch “Double Lariat” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California ($55) — You might expect to pay twice the price for a cellar-worthy, classy Napa Cabernet such as this one. The Double Lariat is powerful and structured but already drinking as smooth as silk. Both fermented and aged in barrel to allow for more complexity, aromas of cocoa and brown spices pair with rich, dark berry fruit notes and supple tannins, which give layers of lushness to the wine. Drink with simple grilled steak for a perfect pairing (just make sure to decant several hours ahead of time).

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  • Barbara Fields

    I loved that the reviewer who uses a wheelchair (as I do) talked about how the layout of Contigo enhanced it’s accessibility. He didn’t have to enter through the kitchen or try to weave among other diners to get to his dining spot. Quality of food and service is primary in a restaurant, but getting graciously and comfortably to your table precedes all of that. The opening video of that restaurant indicated it had inside stairs, so I was wondering how it could really be accessible. Thanks for explaining — Contigo is now on my list of places to go.

  • Beth Van Erman

    Paradiso. Amazing. My new favorite restaurant. I have been there so many times since Check Please Bay Area introduced me to this establishment, the servers and the young man who seats me now know me by sight. Go. Eat. Enjoy.