Finally made it to Appellations (opened August 28). (http://www.northbay.com/archives/gene...) Wish it were closer to home so I could stop by more often. Here are the quick takes
Food Limited but interesting menu: amuse bouche, pizzettas, fromage, and dessert, plus one plat du jour. A simple Pot au Feu ($8 plat du jour) was warming with sheer, pristine flavors and a silky-textured chicken leg highlighted with capers and green sauce. Celery Caesar salad ($5) made with curled strips of crunchy celery stalks (sans lettuce), white anchovies, garlicky dressing, and shavings of nutty parmesan. Very good and CHEAP.
Wines Well-chosen albeit compact list with a couple dozen red/white/bubbly selections by the glass (4 oz.) priced as low as $3, two red flights and two white flights, a good number of half bottles, nice selection of local producers, impressive range of dessert wines by the glass, and plenty of esoterica to please the wine geeks (e.g., 1987 Vega Sicilia Unico, 1972 Oremus Tokay 6 puttonyos). The flights change when the case purchased of each wine sells out sometimes a couple weeks or a matter of days for popular selections.
I tried the two white flights of 2002 Sauvignon Blanc.
Loire Valley ($11): Vacheron Sancerre, Cailbourdin Pouilly Fume Les Cris, Henry Pelle Menetou-Salon
California ($12): Seracina Fetzer Vineyard Redwood Valley, Orin Swift Tofanelli Napa Valley, Rochioli Estate Russian River Valley
Other liquids Non-alcoholic varietal grape juices and some craft beers
Décor and ambience Toney and sophisticated. Set in a period rail car, elegant monochromatic interior revved up with leopard print carpeting, seating at two-tops and four-tops, music selection of jazz classics of the 30s to 50s, quiet on Friday night. Heavy flatware and Spiegelau stemware.
Service Professional, gracious and informed. My server answered all my questions about the menu and didnt flinch when I asked her to serve my wines blind. Paul, the manager, loves to talk about wine.
Corkage fee $25 per 750ml bottle and this statement of policy (printed on the menu): As this is a wine bar, where our profit relies solely on the purchase and consumption of wine, we cannot afford to waive corkage, excepting under the following circumstances. In the interest of staff education, we would be happy to waive the corkage fee if your bottle is over ten years old and if it is shared with the staff.
Appellations, A Wine Bar
6761 Sebastopol Ave.
Gravenstein Station, Suite 700
Tues. to Sun., 5-11pm