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):
Girard, 2012 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel, 15 percent alcohol, $28. A tasty, albeit slightly sweeter, version of zinfandel, but it works. Juicy flavors of raspberry and cherry, with a tasty note of vanilla and a hint of spice. Lovely.
Hartford, 2012 Hartford Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Old Vine Zinfandel, 15.6 percent, $38. A briary zinfandel with tangy fruit and a good dose of spice. Rich and full-bodied. Striking.
Ferrari Carano, 2012 Middleridge Ranch, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 14.6 percent, $38. Aromas and flavors of red fruit, with a burst of tangy notes in the mix — cranberry and rhubarb. Layered, with a hint of cola, toast and caramel. A very pretty pinot.
Grgich Hills Estate, 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 13.5 percent, $42. This is a delicious chardonnay, rich and yet manages to be balanced with citrus notes and great minerality. Aromas and flavors of apple, peach and vanilla. Creamy texture.
Bedrock Wine Co., 2012 Pagani Ranch Heritage Sonoma Valley Sonoma County Red Wine, 14.6 percent, $45. Gorgeous, with a great concentration of fruit, layered herbs and a tasty dose of spice. A standout.
Want to share a current wine on your favorite restaurant's list? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her Tasting Room blog at tastingroom.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.