Wines to try for the week of Sept. 30

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):

Robert Mondavi Winery, 2010 Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir, 14.5 percent alcohol, $27. A pinot with tart cherry, bright acidity, herbs and spice. Balanced. Nice length.

Calera, 2009 de Villiers Vineyard, Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir, 14.4 percent, $35. A tasty pinot with a lot going on. Aromas and flavors of black cherry, dark plum, anise and spice. Ripe tannins. Seamless texture.

Schramsberg, 2009 Blanc de Blancs Brut, 12.7 percent, $37. A striking sparkler with layered flavors. Notes of green apple, pear, brioche and mineral. Creamy texture. Good lift. Nice mousse.

Hartford, 2010 Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel, 15.5 percent, $38. A tasty zin with a seamless texture. Notes of black raspberry, pepper and coffee. Nice length.

Chappellet, 2009 Napa Valley Merlot, 15.1 percent, $38. A merlot with intensity. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, herbs and spice. Firm tannins.

Le Cigare Volant, 2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Red Wine, 14.2 percent, $45. A lively red blend with notes of blackberry, cassis, herbs and black pepper. Smoky. The blend is 45 percent grenache; 30 percent syrah; 13 percent mourvedre; 7 percent cinsault and 5 percent carignane.

Provenance Vineyards, 2008 Napa Valley, Rutherford Sauvignon Cabernet Barrel Select, 14.5 percent, $45. A cab with a great concentration of fruit. Notes of blackberry, anise and cracked black pepper. Nice bones. Juicy. Firm tannins.

Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail peg.melnik@ pressdemocrat.com or check out her Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com.

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