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.