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Montserrat Reece grew up in Spain, and she was used to tempranillo-based wines. When she tasted her first cabernet sauvignon, she was wowed.

“I thought cabernet sauvignon had such an intensity,” she said. “I just fell in love with it …  Cabernet offers a level of complexity that sets it apart for other varietals. It’s multidimensional.”

Reece is the associate winemaker behind our wine-of-the week winner — the Pedroncelli, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Block 007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon at $25.

It’s a full-bodied cab with a great concentration of fruit. It has black currant, herbs and spice, with a nice length.

“It’s a traditional style that focuses on showcasing the varietal above all,” Reece said. “We want to show what cabernet sauvignon tastes like and to be unmistakably recognizable as Dry Creek Valley cabernet.”

What the uninitiated don’t know about cabernet, Reece said, is that it can be very elegant and also food-friendly if made in a restrained style.

“I love that this is a varietally correct cabernet sauvignon and on top of that a very food-friendly wine,” Reece said. “I personally drink this cab with my homemade beef stew. It is perfect for this time of the year.”

The Block 007 is kept separate from the rest of the winery’s cabernet, from vineyards to cellar, to preserve the flavors of this unique block of vines.

Reece said over the past decade, the style of the overblown, bold cab has been tamed; many are now lighter in body with a restrained oak treatment.

“Pedroncelli cabernets always have been in the latter style because that is the house style through all our wines: approachable wines that show the variety, with minimal oak influence,” Reece said.

The most challenging part of producing cab, Reece said, is to keep the wine in a perfect balance between acids, tannins and alcohol.

The most gratifying part of making cabernet?

“Always the final product,” Reece said. “When you drink the wine and you know where it comes from because it shows you in the glass, with all its complexity and beauty.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@gmail.com.

Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest mixed reds.

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week, and the range of wines included grenache, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Many of the wines were quite tasty, but our wine-of-the-week winner is the Pedroncelli, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Block 007 Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at $25.

TOP PICK

Pedroncelli, 2012 Dry Creek Valley, Block 007 Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.4 percent alcohol, $25. ★★★★ A full-bodied cab with a range of flavors – black currant, herbs and spice. Nice oak treatment. Ripe but not over the top. Juicy. A smart buy.

Other impressive wines

Fel, 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 14.6 percent, $38. ★★★ An earthy pinot with bold cherry fruit. Great balance. Notes of herbs and spice in the mix. Impressive.

Grgich Hills Estate, 2010 Napa Valley Merlot, 14.8 percent, $42. ★★★A full-bodied merlot with layered flavors of cherry, strawberry, licorice and coffee.

Freemark Abbey, 2012 Napa Valley Merlot, 14.5 percent, $34. ★★★ A seamless merlot with a great concentration of fruit. Aromas and flavors of black cherry, mocha, toast and a hint of black raspberry. Nice length.

Graziano, 2011 Mendocino County Grenache, 13.5 percent, $18. ★★★ A crisp grenache with bright fruit – black cherry and blackberry – and sassy spice. Firm tannins. Elegant.

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