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):
Marques de Caceres, Deusa Nai, N.V. Rias Baixas, Albarino White Wine, 12.5 percent alcohol, $12. This is an outstanding Albarino, with high-toned fruit and crisp acidity. Notes of grapefruit, mandarin and mineral. It’s a perfect seafood-pairing wine because it’s so light on its feet.
Husch, 2013 Mendocino Chenin Blanc, 13.2 percent, $12. A striking chenin blanc with a range of flavors. Notes of stone fruit, citrus and mineral. A tasty touch of honey in the mix. Bright and lively. A smart summer pick.
Byron, 2012 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay, 13.5 percent, $17. This chardonnay has an impressive concentration of stone fruit, and it’s coupled with great minerality. Layered notes of fig and honey, as well. Very tasty.
Arrowood, 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay, 13.5 percent, $25. A balanced chardonnay, with a yin-yang balance of citrus and crème brulee. Bright acidity, with a hint of tangerine. Lovely.
Medlock Ames, 2010 Bell Mountain Vineyard, Alexander Valley Merlot, 13.6 percent, $38. An earthy, seamless merlot with a gorgeous melding of flavors — blackberry, cassis and forest floor. A standout.