Runquist "Silvaspoons Vineyard" Touriga 2019
Alta Mesa, Lodi
The "Silvaspoons" vineyard has long been a fixture on Bay Area wine lists and boutique shelves. The vineyard name is a play on owner/grower Ron Silva's namesake; he works with just a handful of small producers, like Jeff Runquist and others.
About half the vineyard is dedicated to more traditional grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, etc. and the rest is planted to a gallery of lesser-seen grapes; Mencía, Verdelho, and this Touriga are just some of the Iberian grapes grown in this distinctive site. Ron Silva is of Portuguese descent and sees firm parallels in the terroir of Alta Mesa, Lodi to the rugged landscape of Portugal. His love for Portuguese regions like Alentejo and the Douro inspire this unique island of Iberian grapes in Alta Mesa, halfway between Lodi and Sacramento.
Jeff Runquist is a longtime partisan of this vineyard who, along with a select few others, is granted access to the trellis-trained Touriga grapes from Silvaspoons. Despite Lodi being one of the warmest regions in California, the Alta Mesa “high table” subregion sits at slightly higher elevation; in Jeff’s talented hands he coaxes a surprisingly refreshing red (13.2% abv!), with notes of Bing cherry pie, red licorice, lavender, macerated violets, and milk chocolate. With some time and air the wine truly leans into the red floral spectrum, just a glorious cornucopia of ref flowers, perfume, and bright, candied red-blue fruits. Lip-smacking, juicy, and fun!
In December of 2020 Runquist won Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition “Winery of the Year” for the fourth year running. Google his name and you’ll see a staggering list of awards for his entire production – this is a rare and unique entry into a California interpretation of a classic Portguese varietal.