Press Democrat wine writer Peg Melnik scopes out restaurant wine lists around the North Bay, looking for good value and the occasional splurge. This week's picks (prices are retail; restaurant markup varies):
Chateau St. Jean, single vineyard 2010 Lu Petite Etoile Vineyard, Russian River Valley Fume Blanc, 14.5 percent alcohol, $22. A fume blanc that's bright and crisp. Aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lemongrass and toast. Lovely.
Laguna, 2010 Laguna Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 14.5 percent, $24. A tasty chardonnay with notes of apple, pear and a hint of tangerine. Ripe flavors. Crisp acidity.
Siduri, 2011 Parsons' Vineyard, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.9 percent, $32. A red with good black and red fruit. Good concentration of fruit. Seamless texture. Nice length.
Loring Wine Company, 2011 Durrell Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.9 percent, $45. A sexy chardonnay with ripe flavors. Notes of apple, pear, melon and toasty oak. Lush texture. A knockout.
Chalk Hill, Estate Red, 2009 Chalk Hill Appellation, 15.5 percent, $70. A lush red blend with notes of cherry, toast and vanilla. Briary finish. Rich.