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.