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):
<strong>Au Bon Climat, 2009 Santa Maria Valley, Harmony Nuits-Blanche au Bouge, Chardonnay,</strong> 13.5 percent alcohol, $35. A bright chardonnay with crisp acidity and good minerality. Notes of bright apple, pear and a hint of lemon. Refreshing.
<strong>Landmark Overlook, 2011 Sonoma County Chardonnay,</strong> 14 percent, $25. A lovely chardonnay with rich, yet bright flavors. Tasty notes of melon, pear, white peach and Meyer lemon. Lingering finish.
<strong>Grey Stack Cellars, 2012 Rosemary Block, Bennett Valley, Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc,</strong> 14.3 percent, $33. A New Zealand-styled sauvignon blanc. Grassy, with notes of grapefruit, lime and a hint of jalape?. Crisp finish.
<strong>Argyle, 2011 Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir,</strong> 13 percent, $40. A pinot with depth and plenty of personality. Notes of blackberry, dried cherry and herbs. Spicy finish.
<strong>Domaine Serene, 2007 Etoile Vineyard, Dundee Hills Chardonnay,</strong> 13.6 percent, $46. A fleshy chardonnay with bold fruit flavors and layered flavors. Notes of melon, pear, nectarine and apricot. Rich, yet manages to be balanced. Nice length.