Mixed Reds

TOP PICK

Pedroncelli

Pedroncelli, 2014 Mother Clone Zinfandel, 14.9% alcohol, $18. ★★★★

It’s an appealing take on zinfandel, one buoyed by bright acid and tangy red fruit. Notes of black pepper and anise are in the mix. It’s a crisp, lively zin, and one that’s a steal for the quality.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Carlisle, 2015 Palisades Vineyard, Napa Valley Petite Sirah, 15%, $50. ★★★★1/2: Aromas and flavors of generous fruit -- black raspberry, blueberry and blackberry. Notes of pepper and licorice , as well. A less boisterous version of petite sirah -- supple. Lovely.

Amapola Creek, 2013 Monte Rosso Vineyards, Sonoma Valley Zinfandel, 16%, $48. ★★★★1/2: An earthy, layered zin with a range of flavors. A bit meaty, with notes of black cherry and pepper. Well crafted. Impressive.

Dutton Goldfield, 2014 Angel Camp Vineyard, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 14.1%, $58. ★★★★: A pinot with depth. Gorgeous cherry flavors with notes of blackberry, herbs and toffee. Bright acidity. Lovely.

MacRostie, 2014 Wildcat Mountain, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 14.2%, $56. ★★★★: A pretty pinot with great balance. Aromas and flavors of red cherry, cinnamon and cocoa. Lingering finish. A smart pick.

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Peg Melnik’s Tasting Room Blog


Montse Reece grew up in Spain and her father encouraged her to become a winemaker. He told her “you have good taste for wine and good brains for the rest.”

True to form, Reece is behind our wine-of-the-week winner – the Pedroncelli, 2014 Mother Clone Zinfandel at $16.

It’s an appealing take on zinfandel, one buoyed by bright acid and tangy red fruit. Notes of black pepper and anise are in the mix. It’s a crisp, lively zin, and one that’s a steal for the quality.

“Pedroncelli has a claret style zinfandel with balanced alcohols and a dry finish, showcasing the variety of flavors by minimizing the oak contact,” Reece sid. “This style has been the style of Pedroncelli for decades. To me this is a very European style and very close of what I learned and worked on back in Spain.”

Reece said she’s a good fit to craft zinfandel because she has great concentration and she’s a purist.

“Zinfandel requires focus,” Reece explained. “You need to know exactly the kind of style of wine you want to make and the wine needs to be a fit to your own taste, too. The house of Pedroncelli has been making a claret style zinfandel for decades, one that fits exactly with my taste … I want to show zinfandel in its purest form.”

The biggest challenge in making zinfandel, Reece said, is pinpointing the pick.

“It’s definitely monitoring the ripening of the grape to decide the harvest dates,” she said. “To make our balanced claret style zinfandel we need to monitor lot by lot to know when to pick so that we don’t end up with green flavors if we pick too early or on the other end a ‘hot,’ alcoholic ‘monster’ zinfandel with raisin flavors if we pick too late. We want as balanced as possible every vintage.”

Reece is from the Spanish town Tarragona, in the heart of Wine Country. Next to Tarragona are the vinicultural areas of Priorat, Penedes, Montsant, to name a few.

“When I finished High school, Tarragona’s Rovira i Virgili University offered its first degree in Enology. It was my father who knew I always had an interest in biology and I signed up right away … My father was right. Winemaking was the right choice for me.”

5 Steps to Fitness

The key to fitness is understanding the human body, how and why it works, said Rich Anderson, owner of Fitworx in Santa Rosa.

If you’re looking to get in better shape, he offers these tips:

Throw your scale away: “Fitness is not the number on your scale, what percentage of body fat you have or what you look like in the mirror,” he said. “It’s your performance.” If you’re lean and muscular, you’ll be a fat-burning machine 24 hours a day.

Eat well: That means avoiding frozen and canned foods, not making a habit of fast food. “Visualize yourself as a machine and give it the finest fuel,” he said. That includes lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and more. Anderson thinks of sports drinks as “garbage.” Drink water instead. And toss the supplements and pre-workout powders, too, he said. “Physiologically, you don’t need them.”

Tune up on a daily basis: Go for a walk or run, swim, hit the gym or ride your bike. “Attack everything. Give every activity the ‘oomph’ factor,” he said. “Be better, faster, stronger every time you train. And remember, you don’t begin to burn fat calories until after 35 minutes of exercise.”

Continue to challenge yourself: “Mix things ups,” said Anderson. When you do the same routine every day, the body can plateau, and losing weight becomes difficult. Change the routine — times, modes, terrains, weather, duration and weights. “Confuse the body, and your body and mind will adapt. If you usually work out in the morning, for example, work out in the evening. Or, instead of running 20 minutes on the treadmill, run 30 minutes outside. It will shock your body.”

Keep moving: That means even at work, or while you’re watching TV. Hit the floor and do 10 pushups, jog in place, do 20 squats or leg step-ups on a chair.

For more information: 696-9063, facebook.com/rich.anderson.50951.