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Jeff Runquist R Petit Verdot 2013
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.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.
A highly desirable blending grape originating from Bordeaux in the southwest of France, Petit Verdot adds bold color, lovely floral components and earthy tannins to its blends. While it is commonly added to other Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec in quantities typically less than 10% of the total, it can also produce phenomenal single-varietal wines in some subregions of Australia, Chile, Spain, California and Washington State.
In Bordeaux, it is showing a small revival given its resistance to rot, thick skins and capability of yielding a wine concentrated in color and tannin.
In the Glass
Petit Verdot makes an intriguing wine with aromas of black fruit such as blackberry, plum, blueberry or black cherry as well as violets and dried herbs. It can be deliciously rustic but is most often oak aged to soften its inherently bold tannins, a process that softens and gives welcomed hints of vanilla, coffee and hazelnut.
Roasted pork or grilled lamb kabobs, as well as barbeque and Mole dishes are wonderful. Hard and salty cheeses such as Pecorino, Manchego or aged cheddar can be fun to have alongside Petit Verdot.
When it ripens fully it is a valuable contribution of richness and spice to some of the best blends, but in a cool year it can add a distinctly raw, under-ripe note to any blend.