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.
<strong>Decoy, 2012 Sonoma County Zinfandel,</strong> 13.5 percent, $25. A zesty zin with high-toned red fruit and a kick of spice. Firm tannins. Nice length.
<strong>Joseph Phelps, 2012 Freestone Vineyards, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay,</strong> 14 percent, $55. This is a gorgeous chardonnay with great complexity. Rich, with aromas and flavors of stone fruit, lemon, cr?e brulee and brioche. Lingering finish. A standout.
<em>Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com.</em>
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.