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):

<strong>Pedroncelli, 2013 East Side Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County,</strong> 13.9 percent alcohol, $14. An aromatic sauvignon blanc with aromas and flavors of honey, lime, green apple and honeydew melon. It also has an enticing hint of lemon grass. Nice length.

<strong>Holdredge, 2012 Orsi Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley Schiopettino, </strong>13.6 percent, $30. This varietal is obscure in northern Italy and very rare in Wine Country. It's intriguing because it's both zin-like and syrah-like. The rich fruit, licorice and cracked black pepper win you over. A knockout.

<strong>Burgess, 2010 Triere Estate Vineyard, Napa Valley Merlot,</strong> 14.6 percent, $30. Dark fruit and a seamless texture make this a standout. It also has a nice oak treatment. Full-bodied. Lingering finish.

<strong>Duckhorn Vineyards, 2010 Carneros Napa Valley Merlot,</strong> 14.5 percent, $70. A tasty merlot with good bones (structure). It's layered with notes of plum, mulberry and spice. Nice length.

<strong>Novy, 2012 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel,</strong> 15.7 percent, $22. Bright and lively cranberry fruit, nice acid and great spice. Impressive. This zin is a steal for the quality.

<em> Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail peg.melnik@ or check out her Tasting Room blog at</em>