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About this Episode

Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas take a trip to San Fan where they review the wine list at Spruce. This restaurant serves California-inspired cuisine sourced from a private five-acre organic farm. The wine list is carefully curated and offers 3, 500 selections. Whether you are wondering which cocktail to choose, glass or bottle of wine, Grant shares his experience to help you make a wise and delicious decision. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Grüner Veltliner by Hiedler, Kamptal

  • 2019 Ramey Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Napa

  • 2016 Marienburg Falkenlay, Mosel

Transcript: Spruce


RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will 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, it’s great to be back together for another episode.

GW: Hi 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 when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or 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.

Spruce SF

Opened in 2007 In Laurel Heights, Spruce is dedicated to California inspired cuisine and has been critically celebrated for their impeccable hospitality, wine program, and connection to the land and where they source their ingredients. They have an impressive sommelier team that curates a list with over 3,500 selections so buckle in for what is sure to be an exciting vinous adventure. With a team like this, you don’t really need me to tell you what to drink since they are all so on top of it and I encourage you to have dialogue with them about what excites them in the moment.

As you all know by now, I love a great cocktail and here they have a nice split between the classics as well as their own modern creations. Right away I see one of my all-time favorite classics, A Vieux Carré which is a New Orleans cocktail which is French means ‘old square’ after the city’s French Quarter. Their version includes Bisquit & Dubouche Cognanc, rye, sweet vermouth, Beneditcine, and bitters. Beautiful! Otherwise, I love a good Corpse reviver #2 which features Gin, Lillet blanc, lemon, and absinthe.

There is a lovely BTG program as well so if that is the preferred route then I would start with a glass of the Gosset Grande reserve which is always a solid choice from Champagne and priced well. For a white, I would go for the 2020 Grüner Veltliner by Hiedler in the Kamptal which is racy, fresh, peppery and will match well the sunchokes on the menu or even the crudo. For red I would go for the 2020 Hirsch Pinot Noir, Bohen-Dillon from the Sonoma Coast. I always love Hirsch and I’ve been to this vineyard, which is quite the journey to get to, but the wines are always stunning and will match well with the California inspired menu.

Moving on to Champagne, and there is quite a list of it to consider in a short amount of time, this is my short list… First, for value and overall drinking pleasure, Agrapart is truly a favorite for me and their Les 7 Crus brut is no brainer for me for the price point. Stepping it up a bit more, I would go for the Bérêche & Fils Aÿ Grand Cru brut which is a beautiful village that I’ve been to and this is a stunning wine. Don’ t pass up the likes of Pierre Peters or even Jaques Selosse if you’re not footing the bill. If you really want to ball out, then I absolutely love Krug so why not splurge with the 08 which was a banner year for Champagne.

Moving on to whites. If you want great California Chardonnay, then there is cool producers that I love like Arnot-Roberts but I think a great classic here would be the 2019 Ramey Chardonnay from the Hyde vineyard which would tick a lot of boxes for me and have a great balance of richness and freshness and match well with food.

Moving to the whites of Europe I always love Clemens Busch, their 2016 Marienburg Falkenlay from the Mosel is beautiful, and laser focused. All of his wines are stunning and a dear friend of mine just worked harvest there last year and was super impressed how focused they are, they are German though. Another banger is the 2021 Joh Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr also from the Mosel that though young, is a beautiful wine. There is no shortage of benchmark Riesling from throughout Germany and Austria on their list as well so don’t limit yourself by any means.

We can spend all day walking through this list so to make things a bit short and sweet, all the classic, benchmark French Loire and Burgundy are available here with names like Dagueneau, Raveneau, Coche-Dury (truly amazing by the way) Roulot, PYC, I mean, the gangs all here! Since the high end is well covered here, let me just mention a few fun value whites that will complement the food well while still delivering a great dining experience. One of my favorite Spanish whites is by Zarate, their 2021 Albariño from Rías Bixas which is a great wine for the price, is fresh, briny, round, complex and is such a delectable wine with food. Another fun, alternative French white to go with is the 2020 Dom Tempier blanc from Bandol which is another great value but from an amazing producer that I always love.

Let’s go on to reds, shall we? For a solid domestic Pinot Noir, I likw the 2014 Vocal vienyards ‘Lilo’ reserve from the Santa Cruz mtns. I find anything from SC to be such aromatically unique wines with great acid and age potential. I also love the 2018 Racines PN from the Sta. Rita Hills for its tension, high tone fruit, and overall balance. They’re a relatively new name in the central coast but I love their Chardonnay and their PN’s.

Moving into classic Napa Valley cabs, I go for the 2004 La Jota from Howell Mtn. I used to work for that family of brands which includes Cardinale and Lokoya and I’ve always loved the age ability of the wines from Ja Jota and the 04 should be in a great window right now. But if I was dining with you, Robert, I’d flex a little bit and order the 1992 Dalla Valle which as you know is my birthyear so if you’re in town come July for my birthday, let’s make a reservation at Spruce and hope it’s still on the menu.

Looking to the classic wines of Europe, if you want one of the best examples of Cabernet Franc then try the 2015 Clos Rougeard from Saumur-Champigny. Clos Rougeard is a benchmark for Loire and their wines are truly special to me.

If you want Burgundy, I love the village of Chambolle-Musigny and the 2018 Dom Dujac is priced well and will be a please any Burgundy lover at the table. Another great alternative is 2018 Dom Des Comtes Lafon from Volnay and priced well for their list but there is plenty more and pricy options if you really want to ball out.

Moving on to bigger reds, I love the Rhone, as many Sommeliers do and if you want syrah with age then here, you can party like it’s 1999 with the Dom Jamet’s 99’ and experience Syrah with age, at its best. If you want to head a little further south than 2018 Dom Du Vieux Telegraphe ‘La Crau is classic CDP which a lot of weight and structure to back the heartier dishes on the menu.

I know you love Barolo, Robert, so for you I would suggest the 2016 Elvio Cogno, Vigna Elena, Ravera Riserva which is young but a killer year for Piedmont. Another fun Italian wine to look out for on their list is the 2012 Giuseppe Quintarelli ‘Primofiore from the Veneto. I always love their wines for their depth, personality, and their ability to match with all sorts of dishes.

There is so much more to this list and we could be here all day but I’ll wrap it up with a little dessert by ordering the 1993 Royal Taokaji Aszu Essencia which is one of the sweetest styles of Tokaji and will serve to be a real treat.


RT: Grant Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Spruce’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 

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

If you would like Grant 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 all our episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists and of course please download the CorkRules app to help you navigate all your favorite restaurants.

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

Thank you.








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