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.)

Wild Thing, 2012 Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County, 14.5 percent alcohol, $19. A jammy zin that means business. Notes of black cherry, raspberry, a hint of vanilla and snappy spice. Creamy texture. Edgy. This blend is 77 percent zinfandel; 9 percent carignane; 8, primitivo, 2, alicante bouschet; 2, syrah; 1, barbera; and 1, petite sirah.

Handley, 2013 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer, 13.6 percent, $20. Striking with a tasty range of flavors. Notes of papaya, mandarin orange, tangerine and lemongrass. Bright acidity. Nice length.

Novy, 2012 Napa Valley Syrah, 14.8 percent, $22. A syrah with some muscle. It's briary, with black fruit and snappy spice. A very smart pick for the price.

Kokomo, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Grenache, 14.3 percent, $32. This wine has gorgeous fruit - strawberry, cherry and cranberry - and great minerality. Bright acidity. Lingering finish. A true find.

Imagery, 2011 Pine Mountain, Cloverdale Peak Malbec, 14.8 percent, $45. A tasty malbec with aromas and flavors of cherry, mocha and toasty oak. Modest tannins. Nice length.

Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail peg.melnik@ or check out her Tasting Room blog at