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):
Skouras, 2010 Peloponese, Moschofilero, 12 percent alcohol, $18. A white wine that's nimble, light on its feet. Crisp and clean, with great acidity. Subtle notes of melon and pear. A honeyed finish. Lovely.
Jamet, 2009 Vin de Pays, Rhone Valley, France, Syrah, 12.5, $26. A smoky syrah with savory flavors. Earthy, with violet aromas. Soft texture. Has depth.
Joh. Jos. Christoffel, (CQ) 2009 "Urziger Wurzgarten," Mosel, Germany Kabinett Riesling, 8 percent, $32. A tasty riesling with personality. Notes of melon, pear and honey. Lingering finish.
Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico COS, 2008, Sicily, 13 percent, $35. Full-bodied with good structure. A bit earthy, with aromas and flavors of deep cherry, herbs and mineral. Bright and crisp. Has depth.
Maximin Grunhauser, 2004 "Herrenberg," Mosel, Germany, Kabinette Riesling, 8 percent, $38. Rich and bold, laden with stone fruit and spice. Great minerality. Lingering finish. Has a big presence.
Castelnau de Suduiraut, Bordeaux, Sauternes, 12.5 percent, $40. A lovely dessert wine with aromas and flavors of dried apricot, golden raisin and spice. Good acidity. Crisp finish.
Remirez de Ganuza, 2005 "Fincas de Ganuza," Rioja Reserva, Spain, 14 percent, $58. A rioja with tangy fruit and concentrated flavors. Notes of black cherry, cherry, herbs and spice. Rustic.
Calera, 1997 "Mills," Mount Harlan Pinot Noir, 14.6, $70. A delicate pinot with a hint of smoke. Rich, yet slightly tart. Notes of tart cherry, spice, vanilla and toast. Bright acid.
P & S Chryseia, 2004 Douro, Portugal, 14 percent, $75. A gorgeous red with concentrated flavors. Notes of violet, black raspberry, herbs and spice. Striking.