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):
Quivira, 2011 Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County Zinfandel, 14.2 percent alcohol, $22. A briary zinfandel with layered flavors and a great kick of spice. Fruit-forward with notes of blackberry, cherry and raspberry. Ripe tannins. Lingering finish.
Roederer Estate NV Brut Ros? Anderson Valley, 12 percent, $28. A sparkler with bright acid and great minerality. Notes of raspberry, cherry and graham cracker. Nice length.
Patz & Hall, 2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.2 percent, $38. A fleshy chardonnay that's toasty but not over the top. Notes of apple, melon, herbs and honey. Juicy.
Iron Horse, 2009 Wedding Cuvee Green Valley of Russian River Valley, 13.5 percent, $40. An elegant sparkler that's crisp and clean and light on its feet. Complex, with notes of grapefruit, raspberry, cherry and hazelnut. Nice mousse. Striking.
DeLoach Vineyards, 2011 Olivet Bench Russian River Valley Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 13.5 percent, $58. A pinot with good bones - great structure. Aromas and flavors of red plum, strawberries and white pepper. Medium bodied, with bright acid. A pinot with depth.