Jeff Runquist R Blockhouse Vineyard Dolcetto 2014
Jeff produces wines from grapes grown throughout California. At last count he was planning to crush over twenty different varieties from nine different appellations for the 2013 vintage. Most of these wines are produced in very small limited quantities. However, there are four principle wines that the winery strives to have available throughout the year and they are: Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Barbera, and Petit Verdot. ll of Jeff's wines share a theme of fresh fruit reflective of the varietal flavors inherent in the grapes. Jeff selects grapes from vineyards that provide rich full flavors without loads of astringent tannins.
One of Napa Valley's most historic sub-appellations, Yountville spreads through some of the valley's ideal cooler sites and enjoys success with a handful of different and significant grape varieties.
This sub-AVA of Napa Valley is rich in the history that makes Napa Valley what it is today, and not just for red wines. Moët & Chandon entered the California winemaking business via Yountville in 1973 with the establishment Domaine Chandon. Their goal has always been to produce top quality méthode champenoise sparkling wines.
Christian Moueix, originally responsible for managing Chateau Petrus and La Fleur-Petrus in Pomerol, arrived in Yountville in the early 1980s. He formed a partnership with Rohin Lail and Marcia Smith, inheritors of Napanook vineyard from their father John Daniel of Inglenook in Rutherford. In 1995 Moueix became sole owner of Napanook and chose the name Dominus, which today produces some of Napa’s highest scoring, age-worthy Bordeaux Blends.
An easy-drinker with modest acidity, soft fruity flavors—but catchy tannins, Dolcetto is often enjoyed in its native Piedmont while more serious Barolos and Barbarescos take their time to age. Here, this is the wine you are most likely to find at the table on a casual Tuesday night, accompanying local charcuterie or "apertivo" hour (the canonical Piemontese way to tease your palate before dinner). In recent years Dolcetto has found some footing in California, but plantings are fairly limited outside of Italy.
In the Glass
Dolcetto translates to “little sweet one,” and though the wines produced are typically not sweet in terms of residual sugar, they do possess delightfully fruity flavors of red cherry and blueberry, with an almond-like bitterness at the end and occasional hints of chocolate and baking spice.
Dolcetto is a lively, exuberant variety without a ton of complexity in most cases, and as such is best paired with simple, flavorsome foods such as pasta, pizza and simple meats—anything an Italian farmer might consume after a long day in the field.
In most of Piedmont, easy-ripening Dolcetto is relegated to the secondary sites—the best of which are reserved for the king variety: Nebbiolo. However, in the Dogliani zone it is the star of the show, and here it makes a bigger, riper and a more serious style of Dolcetto, many of which can improve with cellar time.