Wine list


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):

Frei Brothers Reserve, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Zinfandel, 14.8 percent alcohol, $20. A snappy zin with layered flavors. It has a great fruit component — blueberry and raspberry jam. This zin backs up the fruit with a kick of spice — anise and cracked black pepper. A good value.

CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs, 2013 Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 14.1 percent, $25. This is a knockout. There’s so much to appreciate here. Aromas and flavors of apple, pear, apricot and a hint of lime. It’s rich, yet balanced. Quite a find.

Francis Coppola Reserve, 2012 Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 14.5 percent, $38. This is a tasty pinot with bright, red fruit. Notes of cherry, raspberry herbs and oak. It’s a lush wine, with a nice underpinning of spice.

Medlock Ames, 2010 Small Vines Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, 13.9 percent, $55. This cab has a great concentration of fruit and a range of flavors. Notes of blackberry, cigar box and mocha. Firm tannins. Nice length.

Justin Isosceles, 2010 Paso Robles Bordeaux Red Blend, 15 percent, $62. This blend has some intensity. It’s a great melding of flavors — black cherry, currant, toasty oak and a hint of vanilla. The blend is 85 percent cabernet sauvignon, 8 percent cab franc, and 7 percent merlot. This is quite a tasty, well-crafted Bordeaux blend.

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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