The weirdcombos were super excited about Booker Vineyard after that incredibly flattering piece in Wine Spectator came out in March. Apparently we weren’t alone, for when we arrived at their chic tasting room over Paso Robles Zinfandel Fest weekend, almost all the wines had been poured and sold. Good for Eric Jensen but not so good for us. Boo-hoo!
Actually, we might have been lucky, as I’m looking at the Booker website a week later to write this story and I see at the bottom of the home page that the tasting room is closed. It appears that they’ve sold out of wine. No further explanation of possible re-opening date gets indicated. Huh.
Booker, apparently named after two brothers, Claude and Dick, who owned and farmed a lot of acreage in the West Paso area in the early Twentieth Century, is one of the new darlings of the Paso Robles wine universe. They’re a by-subscription winery, though right now, you can sign up immediately, instead of waiting forever, like you might for Saxum, Carlisle, or Kosta Brown. I did right after reading the piece in Wine Spectator (I’m such a wine-sheep), so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to acquire and enjoy some Booker wines later this year. If you haven’t already, then click on over to their site and register.
Like much of Paso, Booker is celebrated for its Rhône style wines. While we visited, we had some exciting white Rhônes, which really is saying something since we’re rarely that thrilled by pale drink.
The tasting room (if it is open) is located quite near Caliza, Brian Benson and Darkstar. You could probably walk between them in good weather (which is what we did, going to Caliza directly after our picnic lunch.) The contemporary and soothing building is nestled at the foot of a fairly steep hill covered in vines. They were playing fabulous alternative rock through their speaker system the day that we visited. Groups like Linkin Park, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, etc. It really put me in an excellent mood.
The tasting room only had three wines to try, but the staff pouring them was so cute and charming that we weren’t upset about it in the least. Eric Jensen and his cute bulldog made a brief appearance. What a great afternoon! After our tasting, we had a picnic lunch, and watched Whit’s son, Jake, play with the Jensen dog in the sun. Perfect.
2009 Pink: This rosé from unfiltered Grenache and syrah was a cloudy salmon pink. Exuding ripe cherry, pepper, hot rocks and hints of raisin with a creamy almost oily mouthfeel. Yum.
2009 White: A blend of roussanne and viognier, exhibited a hazy golden yellow color full of floral notes, tropical fruit, peaches, mineral and earth with a long, stimulating finish.
2008 Tempranillo: This is the first Booker tempranillo. An opaque purple with dried herbs, plum, red fruit; this is round, juicy and opulent.