Press Democrat wine writer Peg Melnik scopes out wine lists around the North Bay, looking for good value and the occasional splurge. This week's picks (prices are retail; restaurant markup varies):
Chandon, NV California Blanc de Noirs, 13 percent alcohol, $22. A lovely sparkler with a creamy texture and a kiss of strawberry. Bright acidity. Nice mousse.
Arrowood, 2011 Alary Vineyards, Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 13.5 percent, $35. A tropical chardonnay with good structure and crisp acidity. Notes of apple, pear and vanilla. Rich, but manages to have good balance. Bright finish.
Dry Creek Vineyard, 2011 DCV2 Estate Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, Four Clones Vineyard Zinfandel, 14.5 percent, $38. A bold zin with snappy spice. Aromas and flavors of cherry, berry and cracked black pepper. Zesty finish.
Loring Wine Company, 2012 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, 14.9 percent, $43. A sexy chardonnay with a seamless texture. Aromas and flavors of apple, pear and crème brulee. Lingering finish.
Duckhorn, 2009 Stout Vineyard, Napa Valley Merlot, 14.5 percent, $85. A seamless merlot with layered flavors. Concentrated fruit flavors. Notes of berry, herbs and pepper. Nice length.
Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail peg.melnik@ pressdemocrat.com or check out her Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com.