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):
Artezin, 2012 Mendocino County Zinfandel, 14.8 percent alcohol, $17. Juicy, with bright red fruit flavors -#8212; cherry and boysenberry -#8212; and a nice kick of spice. Round and full-bodied with ripe tannins. A steal for the price.
Woodenhead, 2012 Wes Cameron Ranch, Russian River Valley, French Colombard, 11.6 percent, $20. An easy to drink white with great balance. What makes it a standout is the bright fruit coupled with its lush, silky texture. Lingering finish. A tasty budget white.
Marimar Estate, 2012 Don Miguel Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Albarino, 14.2 percent, $27. A knockout Albarino with zesty notes of white peach, key lime and mineral. Bright undertow of acidity. Crisp finish.
Cenyth, 2009 Sonoma County, Bordeaux Red Blend, 14.2 percent, $60. A lovely red blend with lush red and black fruit, and notes of mocha, cigar and vanilla. Bright flavors. Ripe tannins. Well done.
Alexander Crown, 2010 Single Vineyard, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, Cabernet Sauvignon, 15.5 percent, $75. A gorgeous cab with bright red fruit, crisp acidity and round flavors. It has a highbrow intensity. Striking.