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Wine list: This week's picks

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):

<b>Guenoc, 2012 California Chardonnay,</b> 13.5 percent alcohol, $10. A tasty chardonnay with notes of pear, apricot, peach and hints of vanilla. Bright acidity. Balanced.

<b>Haywood Estate, 2011 Los Chamizal Sonoma Valley Chardonnay,</b> 13.5 percent, $28. A tropical chardonnay with flavors of pineapple, melon and apple. Toasty, with a hint of vanilla. Nice length.

<b>Loring Wine Company, 2012 Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir,</b> 14.8 percent, $50. A complex, fleshy pinot. Concentrated, with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, herbs and white pepper. Seamless texture. Lingering finish. Impressive.

<b>Hartford, 2011 Dina's Vineyard, Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel,</b> 14.5 percent, $55. A striking zinfandel with powerful flavors of blackberry, cassis, and cracked black pepper. Full-bodied. A standout.

<b>Stonestreet's "Bear Point," 2011 Alexander Mountain Estate Chardonnay,</b> 14.5 percent, $55. A complex and full-bodied chardonnay that makes an impression. Layered flavors of melon, apple, toast and a hint of cr?e brulee. A chardonnay lover's chardonnay.

<i>Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? Email peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or check out her Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com.</i>


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