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>Carmenet, 2012 California Chardonnay,</strong> 12.5 percent alcohol, $12. A value chardonnay that has notes of pear, melon and toast. It's not a highbrow chardonnay by any means, but it's well integrated with appealing flavors.

<strong>Vina Mayor, 2012 Rueda Verdejo,</strong> 13 percent, $16. An intense verdejo that has crisp acidity and lively flavors of lime, herbs and mineral. It's a refreshing quaff, well worth the price.

<strong>Siduri, 2012 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir,</strong> $14.5 percent, $32. A very tasty bright pinot buoyed by bright acidity. Layered with notes of Bing cherry, a hint of cranberry and white pepper. Lovely.

<strong>CrossBarn, 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir,</strong> 14.1 percent, $35. A complex pinot with aromas and flavors of red currant, cola and clove. Ripe tannins. Balanced. Lingering finish.

<strong>Bella, 2010 Rocky Ridge Vineyard, Rockpile Zinfandel,</strong> 14.3 percent, $45. A decadent, supple zin with concentrated fruit. Bold blackberry, cassis, anise and cracked black pepper. Juicy and seamless.

<em>Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail peg.melnik@ or check out her Tasting Room blog at</em>