The winemaker/owner can be called a man of “many vineyards”. Jeff’s career history is via Paul Masson Sherry Cellars (Madera) as an intern while studying enology at UC Davis. Upon graduating, he worked at Montevia (Amador) and was subsequently promoted to winemaker in 1982. He then spent 3 years at the Napa Valley Cooperative Winery, followed by J. Lohr winery in San Jose. Then in 1996-1997 made wine at Sycamore Creek Winery (Morgan Hill) followed by 12 years at McManis Family Vineyard (Ripon). With this history, Jeff and his wife Margie, opened their winery in 2011, Jeff Runquist Wines in Amador.
During his sojourn, Jeff understood the “terroir” of each vineyard and decided to arrange contracts with no less than six wines from the Sierra Foothills, three from the Napa Valley, and two from Paso Robles. With this diversity in vineyards he has been able to produce a portfolio of a wide range of wines. I believe this provides Jeff a challenge with each varietal. The offerings are numerous but highlighted by Tempranillo, Cab Franc, Barbara, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel “Z”, etc. He has conquered all them as evidenced by 28 Gold Medals and 80 Silver Medals in 2012 alone! And his awards have continued.
His varietal offerings are impressive. The two which stood out were the 2015 Mataró (which will be released shortly) and the 2015 Petite Sirah. His Mataró or Mourvèdre a Rhône varietal, was exceptional with blueberry, blackberry fruit with a ting of black pepper and a hint of smoke. The tannins were medium. This particular vintage will last in your cellar, as it will in mine once released!
The next wine was his Petite Sirah. This wine was almost perfect with a high viscosity, bold fruit forward aromas and high tannins (but not too harsh). Coupled with the mild acidity, this will enhance just about any bold entre presented with this wine. An excellent job! This one is aging in my cellar!
Again experience, melded with various vineyards in multiply AVA’s, Jeff has managed to produce a real gem in Amador.
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