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):

Rued Estate, 2011 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 15.5 percent alcohol, $25. This is a full-bodied zin, teaming with black fruit. There’s black cherry, blackberry and a hint of plum. It also has a great kick of spicy cracked black pepper. Zesty.

J Cuvee 20 Brut, Sonoma County, 12.5 percent, $28. A delightful brut, crisp and lively. Notes of pear, hazelnut and mineral. A refreshing sparkler to uncork, even if you don’t have something to celebrate.

Davis Bynum, 2012 Jane’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.5 percent, $29. An impressive p inot with depth. The Davis Bynum is turning heads because of its complexity and range of red fruit: cherry, black cherry and a hint of pomegranate. A spot on underpinning of spice. Nice length.

Trombetta, 2012 Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.1 percent, $45. This is a gorgeous pinot noir, a standout for its bright bing cherry fruit. This pinot has a great concentration of red fruit across the board, with tasty herbs and spice in the mix. Crisp acidity. Lingering finish. Rock star.

Sojourn, 2012 Campbell Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.1 percent, $45. A striking chardonnay, with a lush texture. Aromas and flavors of apple, pear, brioche and even a hint of butterscotch. It’s tropical, and it has the perfect oak treatment. Nice length. Gorgeous.

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

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