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This week's wine list

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PEG MELNIK,

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

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 peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or check out her Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com.</em>