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):
Cline, 2011 North Coast Viognier, 14 percent alcohol, $12. Aromatic with layered flavors. Notes of apricot, peach and pineapple. Bright, yet rich. Oily texture. Lingering finish.
Las Rochas, 2009 Vinas Viejas de San Alexjandro Garnacha, 15 percent, $20. A great quaffer. Notes of black cherry, herbs and cracked black cherry. Snappy.
Le Cigare Blanc, 2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard White Wine, 12.7 percent, $24. A white wine with a range. Notes of pear, quince, herbs and mineral. Subtle and yet there's a lot going on. Nice length.
De Lorimier Winery, 2009 Stone Ranch, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 15 percent, $29. Ripe, but not over the top. Concentrated flavors of black cherry, plum, herbs and cracked black pepper. Zesty.
Ridge, 2010 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah, 14.3 percent, $30. A rustic red with some punch. Rich black juice, briary spice and chewy tannins. Boisterous.
Zaca Mesa, 2009 Santa Ynez Valley White Wine, 14.5 percent, $30. A complex blend with a lot of personality. Rich and layered, with notes of apricot, melon, pear, fig, honey and spice. Silky texture. Lingering finish.
Bella, 2009 Maple Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, 14.4 percent, $38. A juicy zin with notes of black cherry, anise and a zesty undercurrent of spice. Peppery finish.
Terre Rouge, 2008 L'autre Sierra Foothills Rhone Red Blend, 14.5 percent, $30. A tasty red with notes of cherry, herb and spice. Nice acidity. Balanced.
Landmark, 2010 Steel Plow Estate Vineyard, Sonoma Valley Grenache,14.8 percent, $35. A lovely grenache with bright acidity and concentrated flavors. Notes of cherry, herbs and spice. A wine with some depth.