J. Bookwalter


The J. Bookwalter Tasting Room Entrance

After visiting the Ross Andrews tasting room I headed over to J. Bookwalter.

The winemaker is a blending machine.  Not only is he capable of blending vintages but he adroitly blends varietals and vineyards.  I have included the compositions for various wines, not only because the vineyard sources are so important in Washington, but because I love the names.  Before my trip to Woodinville I had never heard of Elephant Mountain Vineyard nor Ranch At the End of the Road.  These wines do a good job of containing their alcohol and coming across as medium-bodied.  But the strengths of this winery lie at the extreme ends.  My recommendation is to drink the NV Subplot while the highly allocated Chapter 3 matures.

The Tasting Room

2010 Couplet
This is 74% Chardonnay and 26% Viognier entirely from the Connoer-Lee Vineyard in Columbia Valley.  It was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  This wine has a fresh, but sweet nose reminiscent of banana.  It is quite sweet and tart in the mouth with banana, brown sugar, and spice.  It is a bit odd and has a persistent aftertaste of sweet spice.  Not Rated.

2010 Anecdote
This wine is 100% Riesling that 34% was sourced from Charbonneau, 19% from Sagemoor, and 19% Bacchus of Columbia Valley with the remaining 28% from Sugar Loaf in Yakima Valley.  It was fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine a light nose that combines funk and freshness.  It is a little sweet in handling the fruit but also acidic.  It leaves the impression of being forcefully made.  Not Rated.

Some J. Bookwalter Reds

NV Subplot #25
This is the 25th non-vintage wine made since 1983.  This is a blend of 48% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Barbera.  This is a blend of vintages encompassing 20% 2010, 32 % 2009, 37% 2008, 1% 2007, 7% 2006, and 3% 2005.  This saw a mish-mash of stainless steel and used French oak for aging.  This reveals purplish highlights in its color.  There are tart red fruits then ripe aromas mixed with darker notes.  With some air there are sweet, spiced aromas.  This is richer in the mouth, with ample sweet spice then soft, purple fruits, with some stuffing and surprisingly, no noticeable wood tannins.  It is actually an interesting wine and the best value.  It was my favorite along with the Chapter 3.  Not Rated.

2008 Foreshadow, Merlot
This wine is a blend of 81% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc.  These grapes were sourced from five vineyards: 33% Ciel du Cheval and 25% Klipsun (Red Mountain AVA), 24% Connor- Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 11% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA), and 7% McKingley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA).  The wine was aged for 18 months in new and one to two-year old French oak barrels.  I found soft, Merlot flavors that were gentle in the mouth and monotonic.  Not Rated.

2008 Foreshadow, Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 12% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.  These grapes were sourced from six vintages: 26% Dionysus and 15% Connor-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 18% Klipsun and 10% Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain AVA), 27% Mckinley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA), and 4% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA).  The wine spent 20 months in new and one to two-year old French oak barrels.  This showed brighter, red flavors as compared to the Merlot, along with some cinnamon toast spice.  A bit simple like the Merlot.  Not Rated.

2009 Antagonist
This wine is a blend of 88% Joseph Phelphs Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Merlot.  These grapes are sourced from 88% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA) and 12% Conner-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA).  It was aged for 16 months in new and  used French oak barrels.  This has the largest mouthfeel yet with purple, Syrah flavors that are balanced by an articulate nose.  There is heat in the finish, ample spice, and very fine tannins in the aftertaste that are from newer oak.  Not Rated.

The J. Bookwalter, Chapter 3

2007 Chapter 3
This wine is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot.  The grapes  were sourced from 47% Conner-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 23% Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain AVA), 22% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA), and 8% McKinley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA).  It was aged for 20 months in new French oak barrels.  There is a bit of fresh tuna, sweet sushi from the barrels, then sweet fruit followed by dark berry flavors.  The dense flavors are not overdone as they move on to a great mouthfeel. This wine needs age before it fully expands.  There is good potential if you do not mind some obvious oak in your wine.  Not Rated.

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