Wines to try for week of Dec. 16

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):

Handley, 2011 Helluva Vineyard, Anderson Valley Pinot Gris, 13.5 percent alcohol, $20. This citrusy pinot gris has a lot going on. Notes of guava, lime and mandarin orange. Floral, with a hint of herbs. Great minerality. Lovely.

Tyler Florence, 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.7 percent, $25. A complex cab with depth. Aromas and flavors of black fruit, toasty oak and pepper. Supple tannins. Lingering finish.

Groth, 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.5 percent, $30. A toasty chardonnay, that's rich but it manages to be balanced. Notes of pear, vanilla and butter. Creamy texture. Long finish.

Amici, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.7 percent, $40. A rich cab with layered flavors. Notes of black fruit, toffee, vanilla, mocha and pepper. Firm tannins. Nice length.

Arista, 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.4 percent, $45. Floral aromas and on the palate, notes of raspberry, plum, cranberry, anise and cola. Bright, crisp flavors. Striking.

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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