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 or check out her Tasting Room blog at</em>