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About this Episode

Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit the celebrated, three-star Michelin restaurant Benu. This establishment has won a James Beard award for both wining and dining, but, of course, the focus here is all on the juice. Grant navigates the list to find some big, beautiful and bold reds, vivacious bubbles, and scintillating whites that will spoil your senses and make it a memorable experience. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2018 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Les Narvaux from Meursault
  • 2007 Qupé, Bien Nacido Syrah from Santa Maria
  • 2017 Copain, Brousseau Vineyard Chardonnay from Chelone
Transcript: Benu


RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier

Hello Grant, great to have you back for another great wine list.

GW: Hello Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes wine lists can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Benu is a three-star Michelin restaurant that is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated and most expensive places to dine in style. Their menu focuses on American cuisine with an Asian flair and an impressive wine and sake list curated by Master Sommelier, Yoon Ha who was one of my course instructors when I was just starting the Intro course for the Court of Master Sommeliers. Yoon is a well-respected MS who is unfailingly kind so I can’t wait to talk about their beverage program.

Let’s get right into it with their wines by the glass. I’d go for the Eric Rodez Brut Rose Grand Cru from Ambonnay in Champagne which is a great biodynamically farmed sparkling to share a quick toast before what will sure to be a great meal.

Also, I know Yoon is a big fan of Sake pairing so a fun local selection from Oakland is the Den Sake blanc which uses white koji which brings subtle citrus and umami flavors to the table.

For something white, I’d go for the Franz Hirtzberger, Ried Kirchweg Smaragd Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau since Grüner is such a versatile white to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

Lastly for reds btg, my eye is on the 2013 Peay Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.

For bubbles by the bottle, I love the Egly-Ouriet, V.P Extra brut, grand cru which is aged on the lees for 84 months which makes it full of personality and worth the splurge.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Krug’s Grande Cuvée as well.

As for whites, depending on the dish I’d go for the 19’ Weingut Clemens Busch Riesling from the Mosel which is a great value and an awesome producer that one of my dear friends is working harvest this year as we speak.

Stepping things up a bit, a fun splurge is the 2018 Didier Dagueneau, Silex from Pouilly-Fumé which is an icon for SB in the Loire.

If you’re a Burgundy hound then I’d go for the 2018 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Les Narvaux from Meursault.

For something domestic I’d go for the 2017 Copain, Brousseau Vineyard Chardonnay from Chelone in the Gabelon Mountain range where there is actually some limestone in the soil which is rare for California and is just a really cool vineyard.

Moving on to reds, if I’m buying, then I’d go for the 2017 Dujac from Chambolle-Musigny but if Robert is buying then why not ball out with the 2009 Ponsot, Clos de la Roch from Morey-st. Denis right?

If you have a larger group and want the best bang for your buck would be the mag of Ch. Pradeaux 2012 from Bandol is perfect wine to get the party started.

If you’re looking for something domestic then I’d go for the 2017 Littorai, Savoy vineyard in Anderson Valley which is always a favorite.

For something bigger and more of a splurge then you can’t go wrong with the 2013 Della Valle of course but a great value here would be the 2018 Enfield, Waterhorse Ridge in Sonoma made by John Lockwood who’s a super nice guy and a great winemaker.

I also couldn’t resist the 2007 Qupé, Bien Nacido Syrah from Santa Maria which has some good age on it and is an iconic wine of its era.

For a sweet ending, why not go for it and finish with the 1990 D’Oliveiras, Malvasia to end on a high note.




Grant, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Benu’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try your great suggestions.   


To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.


If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.


We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 


And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.






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