Wine Advocate 96
“The 2012 The Ripper (always 100% Grenache), which checks in at 13.6% alcohol, is a fabulous effort that was brought up all in neutral 500-liter French oak barrels. Loaded with notions of kirsch, dried flowers, rose petal and underbrush, it’s about as seamless and elegant as this cuvee gets, yet it’s still no lightweight and has full-bodied richness and depth. Showing plenty of fine tannin on the finish, it is hard to resist now, but should have a solid 10-12 year drink window.” – Jeb Dunnuck
Created in 2005, owner/winemaker Eric Jenson has pushed Booker Vineyard into the top 2-3 estates in the region. While the defining trait in the past was sheer richness and texture, I think the wines today show more complete profiles, with beautiful mid-palate density, fabulous purity of fruit and sound underlying tannic structure, all while not giving up on the core of awesome fruit and texture that makes this region so special. Looking at the wines reviewed here, there are two releases of most cuvees, with the traditional bottling seeing 18 months in oak, and the “24” release seeing 24 months in barrel prior to bottling. For the most part, these extended-age releases show a tad more concentration and texture, but not always, and the two releases are more similar than not. Looking at the two vintages covered here, the 2012s are distinctly more fresh and lively than past vintages, and they show the supple, pure character of the vintage. The 2013s have additional depth and richness, and are even better! Due to the drought (and low-yielding water wells), yields here are always minuscule. This lack of moisture also contributes to stunted canopy development, which causes even further crop loss due to sunburn and raisining. Starting in 2012, Eric has used a shade cloth to mitigate this, and he continues to experiment with varying degrees of coverage. Moving to the 2013s, this is a brilliant vintage here and in general, these should surpass the 2012s (which were no slouches). These wines are highly recommended and I think the best are yet to come.
Wine Advocate 95
“The 2012 Vertigo is a blend of 57% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and 11% Grenache that spent 18 months in French oak. It has fabulous purity to go with notions of sweet red and black berries, crushed flowers, licorice and rose petal on the nose. This flows to a medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless red that has no hard edges, building richness, and a graceful, lightly textured feel that never seems heavy or cumbersome. It will thrill for upward of a decade. ” – Jeb Dunnuck
Created in 2005, owner/winemaker Eric Jenson has pushed Booker Vineyard into the top 2-3 estates in the region. While the defining trait in the past was sheer richness and texture, I think the wines today show more complete profiles, with beautiful mid-palate density, fabulous purity of fruit and sound underlying tannic structure, all while not giving up on the core of awesome fruit and texture that makes this region so special.
Wine Advocate 93
“Getting the remnants from the other cuvees, the 2012 Remnant (which was formerly called the Alchemist) is 35% Tempranillo, 25% Petit Verdot, 23% Syrah and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon that saw the standard 18 months in a combination of new and used French oak. Full-bodied, rich and voluptuous, with some serious texture and depth, it also has superb balance, notable underlying structure and integrated acidity, all of which keep it a joy to drink. Loaded with notions of blackberry, raspberry, smoke, roasted herbs and licorice, this masculine-styled beauty can be consumed anytime over the coming 7-8 years.” – Jeb Dunnuck
Wine Advocate 95
“Booker’s 2010 Vertigo bursts from the glass with rich fruit. It is one of the more fruit-driven wines in the lineup. Dark red fruit, spices, mint, licorice and sweet herbs wrap around the fleshy finish. The blend is 63% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre, aged in 50% new oak barrels. With time in the glass, the wine’s freshness and aromatic nuances come to life. This is another stunning 2010 from Eric Jensen. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.” – Antonio Galloni
This bottle is the Vertigo 22, which is extended barrel age (22 months) generally providing more depth and complexity.
Note the 22 below the vintage in the photo.
A little bit of a primer on the Rhone for those who aren’t as familiar. In the Rhone, like all of France, the grapes grown in the area are government controlled or recommended. The red Rhone varietals are Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, with Syrah predominant in the Northern Rhone and Grenache in the Southern Rhone.
We introduced a Rhone varietal in our Entrepreneur Circle wine club last month. The Central Coast of California is becoming known as the best place in the U.S. for these grapes to thrive. Each of our spotlighted wines today are from these appellations, primarily Paso Robles, CA. For those customers outside of CA or who have not had a chance to try these varietals, you’re in for a treat. The Rockstars I mentioned earlier are quickly being recognized as top class performers in this category. Names like Saxum, Booker, Linne Calodo, Epoch, Denner are known for producing world class wines and typically garner ratings of 95 or higher from the Wine Advocate. With less tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon these wines are more approachable in their youth and are enjoyable sipping on a Spring afternoon without a heavy pairing for softening. If you’ve never enjoyed a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) or another blend of these grapes, I encourage you to sample one of the best California examples from top producers.
It began as an ambition to gain access to world class wines for friends, family and personal entertaining.
Through passion and popularity, it has now grown to a thriving business both domestically and abroad. We built a strong internet presence with not only staple producers, but also access to small producers and allocated wines. Booker, Sea Smoke and Schrader Cellars are a few examples. Our unsurpassed wine club, provides customers the opportunity to try high quality wines that they might not otherwise be exposed to.
Peruse our Wine Clubs and select the one that suits your tastes. We look forward to sharing our passion and knowledge with you.