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About this Episode

Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit a renowned French restaurant in San Francisco, Monsieur Benjamin. Bringing a taste of Paris to the New World, Monsieur Benjamin offers a menu of classic French dishes alongside tastefully modernized recipes, and a wine list to tantalize the palate. To kick off your evening, Grant suggests a few cocktails, followed by some bubbles, a beaujolais that will pair with pretty much everything on the menu and a stand-out splurge wine for the special occasion, or maybe, just because – why not?

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2016 Caraccioli Brut Cuvee from the Santa Lucia Highlands
  • 2020 “Scar of the Sea” San Luis Obispo Chardonnay
  • Ted Lemon’s Littorai “One Acre” from Anderson Valley
Transcript: Monsieur Benjamin

Monsieur Benjamin

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.

Monsieur Benjamin

Here we have an awesome new French restaurant a couple blocks from the Bill Graham where I’ve been to a lot of shows in a past life DJing house music in SF. They were recently featured on the Michelin guide, and I was very impressed the last time dined there. The onion soup alone was out of this world! I was very impressed with their bar program as well and the cocktails were on point. It’s even a great spot to try and grab a bar seat if you’re able to.

Let’s start with cocktails as you know I like to do. Right away, the Smokin’ Berry featuring Mezcal, Pimms, Huckleberry, Hibiscus, lemon and egg white is killer, but my friends and I were blown away with their Wake Up Call which features Espresso, Mr. Black, yellow Chartreuse, dry Curacao and milk. I think we even ordered another at the end of the meal!

Let’s go on to the bottle list though. This is a very French-focused list of course but has some fun local selections as well. For bubbles, I’m a huge fan as you may know of the Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut from Champagne but another local favorite from California is the 2016 Caraccioli Brut Cuvee from the Santa Lucia Highlands which ages amazing and really speaks to a sense of place.

A great white to explore on their list is the 1999 Domaine Aux Monies from Savennieres in the Loire which ages beautifully and run by an amazing female team. A great value on their list is Ian Brand’s La Merea Albariño from Monterey, which is light, fresh, and easygoing. I love the Scar of the Sea 2020 San Luis Obispo Chardonnay which is another shout-out to Mikey and Gina who are doing amazing things in the central coast.

Moving to reds, I think the 2020 Marcel Lapierre is an easy choice from Beaujolais that will be great with the food here. If you’re feeling Burgundy and want to splurge, I do love the 2017 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Nuits-Saint-George is stellar but a new-world splurge that stands toe to toe would be Ted Lemon’s Littorai “One Acre” from Anderson Valley.

A fun Rhone red coming from the central coast would be the 2020 Counoise by Railsback Freres in Santa Ynez. If you want to stick to classic French what would be big e2016 Caraccioli Brut Cuvee from the Santa Lucia Highlands nough for something richer, I love the 2016 Chateau Pardeaux from Bandol which a rustic red done in a stunning way that also ages amazingly.

Lastly, I’d finish with a glass of the 2015 Clos Guirouih, Jurancon to tie it all together or, like I mentioned earlier, the Wake-Up Call cocktail is another perfect ending.

Another great spot and I can’t wait to go back.


Grant, Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Monsieur Benjamin 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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