Press Democrat wine writer Peg Melnik scopes out wine lists around the North Bay, looking for good value and the occasional splurge.
This week's picks (prices are retail; restaurant markup varies.)
<strong>Sebastiani, 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay,</strong> 13.5 percent alcohol, $14. A lovely chardonnay with layered flavors. Notes of apple, butterscotch and toasty oak. Well-integrated. Balanced.
<strong>Graziano, 2010 Mendocino County, Petite Sirah,</strong> 13.5 percent, $18. A robust petite sirah with a soft side. While it has firm tannins, it also has a round texture. Notes of blackberry, chocolate and vanilla. Great undercurrent of spice.
<strong>River Road Family Vineyards & Winery, 2012 Reserve Alexander Valley, Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon,</strong> 13.8 percent, $20. A lively cab with a lot going on. A touch earthy, with layered notes of blackberry, black cherry, cassis, cedar and a hint of vanilla. A steal for the quality.