Top picks from North Bay restaurant wine lists

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):

Husch Vineyards, 2014 Mendocino County Chenin Blanc, 13.5 percent ?alcohol, $12. This chenin blanc is the ideal picnic wine, a refreshing quaff with layered flavors of apple, peach and mineral. It’s a steal for the quality. Lovely. This chenin blanc has been seen on the wine list at the Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.

Navarro Vineyards, 2013 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer, 13.3 percent, $20. A gorgeous gewürztraminer with bright acidity and a range of flavors – peach, orange and mineral. Just the right dose of spice. Gewurztraminer at its best. Zesty. Crisp. This wine recently has been seen on the wine list of Hana Sushi in Rohnert Park.

Preston of Dry Creek, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel, 14.5 percent, $36. This jammy zinfandel has full-throttle fruit – blackberry and raspberry – with layered notes of clove, tobacco and cracked black pepper. A great incarnation of zin. This wine has recently been seen on the wine list at Monti’s in Santa Rosa.

Hamel Family Wines, 2014 Sonoma Valley Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 14.1 percent, $45. This sauvignon blanc is a standout, a zesty blend of grapefruit, lime and mineral. Crisp. Dry. Racy. The supple texture is a surprise, a pleasant one. Striking. The 2013 vintage of this sauvignon blanc has recently been seen on the wine list at the French Laundry in Yountville.

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Alexander Valley, 13.8, $53. This is an elegant cab with great structure. While weighted to black fruit, there’s a streak of cranberry in the mix that makes this cab intriguing. Layered notes of herbs, vanilla bean and tobacco. Nice length. Top rate. This cab has recently been seen on the wine list at Stark’s Steakhouse in Santa Rosa.

Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant’s list? or check out her Tasting Room blog

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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