Jeff Runquist’s wine is sold now across Connecticut, cherished by a group of us who have the greatest respect for his skill. Runquist Vineyard is in the perfect spot near Lodi, California, but that’s not why I’m mad for his wine.
Jeff stays close to his own originality; he lets his senses direct what he does, not wine review publications or anyone else, really. He isn’t even interested in sending samples to Wine Spectator, though he wins all kinds of competitions.
The result is a relatively small line of beautifully handcrafted red wines, including Barbera, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot. The fruit is allowed to stay on the vines until it’s ripe, so it’s lush without sweetness, the mouth-feel silky smooth. In addition, Jeff uses no pumps when he’s making his wine, as most vineyards do; he’s adamant about not wanting to break the grape seeds. This is a careful craftsman with a sense of daring, and that’s why some of his wines sell out quickly. (Luckily, Connecticut has a distributor, and New York will have one in the fall of 2014. Please see below.)
If you can get a bottle of the Petit Verdot, or Cooper Barbera, please do so, though I’d be happy with just about any bottle he offers. The wines run anywhere from $22 to $34, suggested retail. Jeff Runquist makes me wish I lived right down the road. Thanks to local distributors and the internet, we sort of do.
If your wine store doesn’t stock Runquist wines, please tell them the Connecticut distributor is 55 Degrees. The Massachusetts distributor is Ruby, and starting in the fall of 2014, the NY distributor is reported to be Martin Scott.
Stay tuned for our virtual tasting with Jeff Runquist.