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>Girard, 2012 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel,</strong> 15 percent alcohol, $28. A tasty, albeit slightly sweeter, version of zinfandel, but it works. Juicy flavors of raspberry and cherry, with a tasty note of vanilla and a hint of spice. Lovely.
<strong>Hartford, 2012 Hartford Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Old Vine Zinfandel,</strong> 15.6 percent, $38. A briary zinfandel with tangy fruit and a good dose of spice. Rich and full-bodied. Striking.
<strong>Ferrari Carano, 2012 Middleridge Ranch, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir,</strong> 14.6 percent, $38. Aromas and flavors of red fruit, with a burst of tangy notes in the mix — cranberry and rhubarb. Layered, with a hint of cola, toast and caramel. A very pretty pinot.
<strong>Grgich Hills Estate, 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay</strong>, 13.5 percent, $42. This is a delicious chardonnay, rich and yet manages to be balanced with citrus notes and great minerality. Aromas and flavors of apple, peach and vanilla. Creamy texture.
<strong>Bedrock Wine Co., 2012 Pagani Ranch Heritage Sonoma Valley Sonoma County Red Wine,</strong> 14.6 percent, $45. Gorgeous, with a great concentration of fruit, layered herbs and a tasty dose of spice. A standout.