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Wine List: This week's picks

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):

Smoking Loon, 2012 California White Wine Blend "White Loonatic," 13.5 percent alcohol, $10. An aromatic white blend with delicate flavors of nectarine, honey and white peach. Bright and lively, a breezy white that's turning heads.

Trione, 2010 Pinot Noir River Road Ranch, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, 14.2 percent, $35. Earthy, with notes of black cherry, plum and spice. Lush texture. Bright acid. Nice length.

Gary Farrell, 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 14.1 percent, $35. A rich, vibrant chardonnay, buoyed by crisp acidity. Layered flavors of honey, citrus and spice. Lingering finish.

Gracianna, 2011 Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.8 percent, $48. A pinot with good bones — a nice structure — and one that also manages to be fleshy. Juicy cherry with notes of herbs and spice. Generous.


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