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):
Korbel Natural, 2009 Russian River Valley Brut, 12 percent alcohol, $14. A sparkler that's approachable, with great fruit flavors. Notes of apple, citrus, raspberry and cherry. Good minerality. Nice lift.
Ridge, 2010 Lytton Springs Zinfandel, 14.5 percent, $21. A briary Ridge zin with its trademark bright acidity. Notes of cherry, plum, cocoa and cracked black pepper. Lingering finish.
Wilson, 2009 Dorothy's Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, 15 percent, $32. A smoky syrah with complex flavors. Notes of cherry, plum, cola and chocolate. Ripe but not over the top.
Pommery NV Brut Royal, France, 12 percent, $45. A bright, crisp bubbly with lively acidity. Layered flavors of brioche, pear and apricot. Nice length.
Le Reve, 2006 Carneros Domaine Carneros Blanc de Blancs, 12 percent, $95. An elegant bubbly, with complex notes of yeast, lemon, lime and strawberry. Great minerality. Nice mousse.