It’s Washington Wine Month (#WAWineMonth) and I am woefully behind in celebrating one of my absolute favorite wine regions. But. I’m going to make a diligent effort to make up for it, starting with one of my favorite wineries, J. Bookwalter.
I had the opportunity to visit J. Bookwalter last fall as part of the Wine Media Conference and if you ever have the opportunity, you should not miss a chance to visit yourself. Winemaker Caleb Foster could not have been more hospitable and Tasting Room Concierge extraordinaire Ryder Langley, was an incredible and knowledgeable host. Ryder forever endeared himself to me when someone asked what paired well with one of the wines and his reply was Netflix and a recliner. Cheers to that Ryder.
There is an excellent restaurant right there at the tasting room called @Fiction. The tasting room is the former home of the Bookwalters, and perhaps that’s why the atmosphere is so inviting. You can find a place to make yourself at home with both cozy and intimate indoor and outdoor spaces.
I am a book lover and I think the book theme is nothing short of genius – with wine names like Protagonist, Antagonist, Conflict and Suspense. There are also Chapter and Volume wines, the Reader series and the Notebook series.
Ordering wines online has been on my list of things to do for 6 months now, but I’m terrible at ordering wine online. There are so many wineries I want to order from and then, there’s shipping which makes me want to get my money’s worth – and well, it becomes an expensive proposition that exceeds my very generous monthly wine budget lol!
Luckily, I was able to find this Readers Cabernet Sauvignon at a local retailer. It is a 2014, it’s a screw cap and it is absolutely beautiful. Sometimes when you visit a winery and you meet the people, you get a little influenced by the experience. In this case, I had not tasted the Readers wines, so I was half expecting to have my fond memories put in check, but that was not the case. Not at all.
The grapes for this wine come from three legendary Washington State vineyards: Connor Lee, Elephant Mountain and Dionysus, This is fitting since Jerry Bookwalter was a pioneer of Washington wines, with history in these vineyards dating back to 1976. It is his son John who is currently at the helm. The wine is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah. The grapes were hand-picked in October of 2014 and bottled in the summer of 2016.
This wine has very expressive aromatics with notes, of blackberry,, cedar, mocha and an earthy element that I can’t quite identify. It doesn’t disappoint on the palate either. It is big and bold, but smooth and well balanced. Notes of black cherry, plum and tobacco (or maybe pepper) on the long finish.
I’ve heard people refer to the Readers series as J. Bookwalter’s entry level wine but its not – that would be the Notebook series. My local retailer had this one for $24.99 and I think it is a good value for the money. I would not hesitate to splurge on any of their more expensive wines and eventually I will because I am going to make that online order. Plus, I’ve tried them and they are outstanding.
Are you familiar with J. Bookwalter? I’d love to hear your experiences. Cheers to Washington State.