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):
Healdsburg Ranches, 2011 California Coastal Series Zinfandel, 14.5 percent alcohol, $13. A tasty zinfandel for the price. Briary, with aromas and flavors of cherry, blueberry and white pepper. Zesty finish. A good quaffer.
Greg Norman Estate, 2011 Shark Red Central Coast Red Blend, 13.9 percent, $15. A layered red blend that has a lot of flavors in the mix. Notes of blackberry pie, plum, blueberry, fig and sweet oak. Bright acidity. Crisp finish.
Robert Mondavi Winery, 2012 Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir, 14.5 percent, $26. An earthy pinot noir with complex aromas and flavors. Notes of cherry, white pepper, mineral and mushroom. Bright acidity. Lingering finish.
Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel, 2011 Dry Creek Valley, 14.5 percent, $30. A zesty zin with muscle. Earthy with bright cherry, blackberry and cracked black pepper. Briary finish. A standout.
Steven Kent, 2012 “Merrillie” Livermore Valley Chardonnay, 14.7 percent, $34. A budget-savvy price for the caliber of this chardonnay. Complex and rich, with notes of pear, lemon curd and toast. Lingering finish.
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.