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):
Steele, 2008 Pacini Vineyards, Mendocino County Zinfandel, 13.5 percent alcohol, $17. Deep blackberry fruit with notes of herbs, spice and a hint of caramel. Ripe, but not over the top. A good value zin.
Four Vines, 2009 The Sophisticate, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 14.8 percent, $20. A briary zin with bold fruit. Layered flavors of blackberry, black cherry, herbs and spice. Good acidity. Nice length.
St. Supery, 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13.7 percent, $20. A zesty sauvignon blanc with crisp acidity. Notes of grapefruit, lime, lemon zest and spice. Crisp finish.
Barbera D'Alba, Borgogno Di Barbaresco, 2006 Piedmont, 13.5 percent, $20. A medium-bodied red with lively aromas and flavors. Notes of black raspberry, licorice, herbs and spice. Striking.
Saint Gregory, 2010 Mendocino Pinot Meunier, 13.5 percent, $21. A lively red with a lush texture. Notes of cherry, strawberry, herbs and spice. Good acidity. Lingering finish.
de Lorimier Winery, 2009 Stone Ranch, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 15 percent, $29. A zin with a good concentration of fruit. Notes of black cherry, herbs and spice. Lingering finish.
Siduri, 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 14.1 percent, $29. A tasty pinot with bright acidity. Notes of cherry, herbs and spice. A touch earthy. Lovely.
Gracianna, 2010 Suzanne's Blend, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 13.8 percent, $34. A layered chardonnay with notes of apple, melon, pear and vanilla. Creamy texture. Nice length. Lovely.
Talbott, 2010 Sleepy Hallow Vineyard Chardonnay, 14.8 percent, $40. A lush chardonnay with a silky texture. Lovely aromas and flavors of melon, pear, vanilla, toast and cr?e brulee. Complex.