Montse Reece said what the uninitiated don’t know about cabernet sauvignon is that there’s no shame in crafting a light weight.
“Cabernet sauvignon doesn’t need to be a huge wine hard to pair with some meals,” Reece said. “It can be a very food friendly wine if it’s made in a lighter style.”
Reece is the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner – the Pedroncelli, 2015 Three Vineyards Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.5%, at $20.
This cab definitely over-delivers with generous fruit and bright acidity. It’s layered with herbs and spices, and lightly toasted.
“I’m looking for a European style of cabernet sauvignon — dry, good acidity, minimal oak, and moderate alcohol,” she said. “It’s a wine to be consumed with food and also good for aging.”
Reece, 44, is originally from Catalonia, Spain right in the heart of wine country with viticultural areas like the Priorat, Penedes and Monstant.
“I grew up in a culture where wine is part of the daily life and that’s where I learned to appreciate it,” she said. “I am also very fond of microbiology and the chemistry of the winemaking process.”
Reece’s background is in Technical Agricultural Engineering, with a specialty in enology from Tarragona’s University Rovira I Virgili. She graduated in 1998.
It’s the yin yang of winemaking that intrigues Reece.
“Making wine is an art, a craft, but it’s also a science,” she said. “You need to be passionate about what you are making, but also you need to know why all this happens.”
What makes the 2015 vintage a standout is its crisp acidity.
“2015 was very dry,” Reece said. “We were officially under drought conditions so the ripening of our cabernet was unusually fast. We had to pick very early, second week of September, in order to keep the acids and sugars in balance. By picking early we also got more varietal flavors that tend to disappear as the grapes keep hanging for too long.”
The most challenging part of winemaking, Reece said, is two-fold.
“First, to pick the grapes at the right maturity, focusing on tannins and acidity rather than sugar,” she said. “And once in the cellar to not over treat the juice and wine to maintain the house style.”
It’s clear this cab has been pampered from the vine to the cellar. Reece said her strength and weakness as a winemaker is “attention to detail.”
Staff Writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-5215310 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pegmelnik.