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.”

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