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):
Renwood, 2010 Premier Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County, 15.5 percent alcohol, $20. A full-throttle zin with layered flavors. Notes of black fruit, roasted coffee and cracked black pepper. Full-bodied. Ripe.
Charles Krug, 2009 Napa Valley Merlot, 14.8 percent, $24. A seamless merlot with complexity. Layered flavors of blackberry, cherry, mocha and mineral. Ripe tannins. Lingering finish.
Girard, 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 13.9 percent, $24. A lovely chardonnay with notes of melon, peach, citrus and toast. Nice acidity. Creamy texture.
Waterstone, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5 percent, $24. A tasty cab with a lot going on. Aromas and flavors of currant, blackberry, mocha and toasty oak. Firm tannins. Ripe.
Frank Family Vineyards, 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel, 15 percent, $39. A rustic zin with bold flavors. Has a great concentration of fruit. Notes of blackberry, plum, anise and cracked black pepper. Zesty finish. Ripe, but not over the top.