Union Street has always been a dining mecca, from French to burgers, to Italian to cream puffs. But until West Coast Wine & Cheese opened late last fall, Cow Hollow really didn’t have its own wine bar. This small, sleek space that seats just 28 is operated by husband-and-wife team Lindsey Repose and Chris Wanner, Cow Hollow residents with a passion for premium wines from California, Washington, and Oregon, complemented by a rotating, market-driven menu of cheese, charcuterie, and small plates.
Wanner, who earned his California Wine Appellation Specialist certification in 2013, is ardent about creating both a comfortable, unpretentious spot for neighbors to drop in and a showcase for some of the West Coast’s best small-production wines. Opposite the gleaming white bar is an entire wall of wines; West Coast offers an ample selection of whites, reds, and sparking wines by the glass ($12–$22 for most) and by the bottle ($44–$80 for most). This is the place to try a 2012 Pinot Noir from Evening Land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley ($16/glass; $60/bottle); a Copain 2012 Chardonnay “Tous Ensemble” from the Russian River Valley ($12/glass; $44/bottle); or one of West Coast’s specially selected wines including Shafer Vineyards 2012 Merlot from Napa Valley ($25/glass; $100/bottle), if you’re in the mood to splurge.
Wanner and Repose are clear that an artisanal, locally sourced menu is just as important as the pours. They recruited Napa native and world traveler Ethan Speizer, formerly with Oenotri in Napa, as executive chef. Cheese and charcuterie plates ($6–$7) feature Marin French Cheese Company, Bellwether Farms, and Zoe’s Meats among others. Speitzer’s “plates” ($7–$35) change often but recently included burrata (a menu staple) with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pomegranate, and arugula; a little gem salad with faro, mushrooms, San Andreas cheese, and lemon vinaigrette; roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta, brown butter, and butternut squash puree; and pork rillettes made from five-spice braised pork shoulder and served with pickles and crostini. Always available are Castelvetrano olives, Marcona almonds, fresh bread with olive oil, and assorted TCHO chocolates ($3–$6).
In addition to wine, West Coast offers four regional draft beers and a sampling of bottled brews including ales, stouts, and hard cider. A happy hour from 4–6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday offers $10 off all bottles of wine, and plans for brunch are underway. Last month, the first winemaker tasting featured Napa Valley vintner Ignacio Delgadillo from Delgadillo Cellars and his 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30/glass; $130/bottle.) In February, a special Valentine’s Day rosé flight menu will be available all day Feb. 14.
West Coast Wine & Cheese is a charming and welcome spot for oenophiles and foodies alike to try something new.
West Coast Wine & Cheese: 2165 Union Street, 415-376-9720, westcoastsf.com; Monday–Friday 4–10 p.m., Saturday–Sunday noon–10 p.m.