Wine list

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):

J. Lohr, 2009 Paso Robles Merlot, 13.5 percent alcohol, $15. An approachable wine with good acidity. Bright with layered notes of cherry, caramel and spice. Nice length.

Amici, 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 14.2 percent, $20. A tropical sauvignon blanc with aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, citrus and spice. Bright and lively.

Novy, 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 13.5 percent, $20. A toasty chardonnay with aromas and flavors of pear, lemon and melon. Lingering finish.

Benovia, 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.5 percent, $45. A pinot with depth. Complex with layered notes of cherry, black raspberry, herbs and spice. Striking.

Amapola Creek, 2008 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9 percent, $60. A complex cab with a great undercurrent of spice. Notes of blackberry, cherry, herbs and spice. Lingering finish. A knockout.

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.

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