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):
Pacific Rim, 2011 Columbia Valley Gewurztraminer, 12 percent alcohol, $13. A vibrant gewurztraminer with crisp acidity. Aromas and flavors of peach, apricot and melon. A refreshing pick.
Korbel NV California Champagne Brut Ros? 12 percent, $13. An approachable sparkler with aromas and flavors of strawberry, apple and mineral. Bright acidity. Bubbly that's light on its feet.
J. Lohr, 2009 Los Osos Paso Robles Merlot, 13.5 percent, $13. A merlot with concentrated notes of blackberry, currant and cracked black pepper. Seamless texture. Lingering finish.
Chasseur 2010 Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.8 percent, $30. A pinot with depth. Great concentration of high-toned cherry fruit. Crisp acidity. Great minerality. Striking.
LWC Loring Wine Co., 2011 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 14.8 percent, $32. Earthy, with notes of blackberry, black cherry, herbs and spice. Nice length. Very tasty.
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