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Wine list

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):

Mirassou, 2010 California Merlot, 13.5 percent alcohol, $12. An approachable merlot with aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum, toast and spice. Bright fruit. Good acid. Nice length.

Rodney Strong, 2010 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5 percent, $28. A cab with ripe tannins and a seamless texture. Notes of red fruit, toast and spice. Lingering finish.

Frank Family Vineyards, 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.2 percent, $34.75. A tropical chardonnay with notes of pineapple, apple and a hint of hazelnut. Lively with good acidity. Creamy texture.

Quivira, 2010 Quest, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 15 percent, $38. A big boy zin with ripe fruit and yet it manages to be balanced. Has depth. Zesty finish.

Renwood, 2010 Timberline, Amador County Zinfandel, 15.5 percent, $40. This brooding zin has concentrated fruit, with a hint of dark chocolate. Firm tannins. Spicy finish.

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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