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J. Bookwalter - Tasting May 2023

J. Bookwalter offers a broad portfolio, from every day wines in their "Readers" line, to their more refined "Legacy" and "Luxury" lines. There is a strong family heritage in winemaking and viticulture, beginning from Jerry Bookwalter, who established the Bookwalter name in the Tri-Cities. His dedication to viticulture began in California, but progressed to the contribution to acclaimed Washington vineards - Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Dionysus. Jerry's son, John, helped expand the Bookwalter label and eventually incorporated Caleb Foster as winemaker in 2014. As a boutique winery, Bookwalter sources from prestigious vineyards including Conner Lee.

2020 Double Plot 100% Chardonnay. Bright nose of pineapple. Light medium on the palate of pineapples, lemon, with balanced light acidity and gentle oak. $40. Score 92. 2019 3rd Edition 63% Semillon, 17% Muscadelle, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Complex and beautiful aromas of peach, white pepper, mint, white flower. A fulfilling, silky and velvety palate of lemon and mouthwatering carmelized pineapples, and soft acid. The finish is lengthy. $45. Score 95. 2019 Readers Merlot 75% Merlot, 20% Cab Sauv, 5% Malbec. Pronounced pepper and oak nose. A peppery and structured merlot, focused dark fruit, blackberries, black cherries with oak and vanilla. Excellent price to quality ratio. $30. Score 91. 2020 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon 77% Cab, 15% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 4% Malbec. Graphite and pencil lead on the nose. The palate is light and airy, with a bold body of red and blue fruit, with eucalyptus, green peppercorn, with gripping tannins. Another great value. $30. Score 92. 2021 Readers Syrah blend of 20% Malbec. Earthy and forest floor aromas, game, with hints of black pepper and vanilla. Dark and blue fruit, cool on the palate, with plenty of black pepper and oak. A finish of heat and white pepper, and gripping tannins. An amazing value again! $30. Score 94. 2021 Suspense 80% Cab Franc, 15% Merlot, 5% Cab Sauv. Green peppercorn aromas. Focused and concentrated blueberries on the palate, toasted oak, with firm tannins. Long finish. $68. Score 93. 2020 Conflict 56% Merlot, 32% Cab, 9% PV, 3% Cab Franc. Chocolate and exotic spice aromas. Dense blue and black fruit, with notes of milk chocolate, grippy tannins. Should age and excel. $68. Score 93. 2020 Protagonist 89% Cab Sauv, 6% Syrah, 5% PV. Graphite and black pepper nose. Fruit foward, and bold, bursting with dark currant, plums, blackberries with pleasant heat and baking spice. Tannins are robust, but balanced, and finish is long, with slightly drying tannins. Showing well. Great aging capability. $68. Score 95. 2020 Antagonist 100% Syrah. Elephant Mountain. Smokey bacon aromas with purple flowers and sweet spice. Incredibly silky palate, and weightless, swimming in juicy blueberries, blackberries, with a pleasant inflection of heat and pepper. The finish is lengthy, with drying tannins, and touch of black tea. $68. Score 95.

Bookwalter offers a great range of wines for the average wine drinker to the discerned palate. The Reader's series delivers incredibly approachable and affordable wines, a perfect everyday drink. The Readers Syrah in particular was plush and gratifying for only $30.

The "Luxury" and "Legacy" lineup showcases more refinement. I loved the 3rd Edition White Blend, with its amazing depth and texture. The 2020 Antagonist Syrah was silky and complex, and the 2020 Protagonist offered a robust Cab with ageability.


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