The Press Democrat 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):
<strong>J. Lohr, 2011 Arroyo Seco, Monterey Chardonnay,</strong> 13.5 percent alcohol, $14. A rich, tropical chardonnay with notes of pineapple, melon and toasty oak. Layered, well-integrated flavors. A steal for the price.
<strong>William Hill Estate Winery, 2012 North Coast Chardonnay,</strong> 13.5 percent, $17. A tasty chardonnay with aromas and flavors of pear, melon and toasty oak. It's buoyed by good acidity and ends with a caramel finish. Lovely.
<strong>Wild Thing, 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel, Mendocino County,</strong> 14.5 percent, $35. This is a rockstar zin that's ripe but not over the top. It has bold flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and plum, and a current of snappy spice. Nice length.
<strong>Siduri, 2011 Sonatera Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir,</strong> 13.2 percent, $49. A complex pinot with gorgeous fruit and great depth. Layered flavors of cherry, cola and herbs. A touch earthy. Striking.
<strong>Gary Farrell, 2011 Maffei Vineyard, Russian River Valley Zinfandel,</strong> 14.5 percent, $45. A lovely zinfandel with aromas and flavors of dried cherry, herbs and white pepper. Seamless texture. Lingering finish.
<em>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.</em>