The name itself has appeal; "J. Bookwalter" just sounds sophisticated doesn't it? It was time to check out the Woodinville tasting room!
The J. Bookwalter Woodinville tasting room shares a parking lot with the Hollywood Schoolhouse, in the Hollywood district. Parking is quite ample, and allows an opportunity to visit the neighboring tasting rooms.
We were greeted by an inviting, modern, and spacious studio. The interior colors, furniture, and fixtures elevate the tasting experience. I noted the garage door / windows, which could provide a great indoor/outdoor atmosphere, had it not been drizzling that day.
The staff was welcoming, and honored our request to substitute the white wines so that we ended up with an entirely red flight. (The photo below does not reflect the substitutions)
2020 Readers Syrah
2019 Readers Merlot
2020 Suspense (75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot)
2019 Conflict (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot)
The wines were elegant, and we were not disappointed. There was a clear difference between the Readers and the Luxury wine series, and this is reflected in the price. The Readers series sell for just under $30 while the more refined Luxury series are just under $70.
Our favorite was the Suspense 2020, from their Luxury series. This was a Cabernet Franc (and 25% Merlot blend), from the Conner-Lee Vineyard. Tasting notes from the website: "The 2020 Suspense is a dark red with opulent red-purple hues. It has aromas and flavors of concord skin, rose petals, ripe raspberry, sweet red pepper, and cherry. This wine is bursting with flavor! Smokey chipotle, sweet roasted pepper, Mayan cocoa, and savory herbs, also play a key role in this wine. Suspense finishes with ripe red fruit that is plush and lingering leaving you wanting another taste."
Our overall rating of J. Bookwalter was A-, meaning wines were very good when we averaged it out. Their wines were elegant, and thoughtful. The Readers series red wines (Syrah, Merlot) were good, but definitely less refined when put up against the Luxury red wines (Conflict, Suspense). But again, at just under $30, the Readers series are easily approachable and good value. In comparison, at around $70, the Luxury series could be hard to reach for some wine drinkers, including myself. This would be a wine of special occasions, and for aging.