2014 Booker "RLF" Paso Robles Pinot Noir

SKU #1262111 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A change up from the 100% Grenache cuvees of the past, the 2014 Rlf is 100% Pinot Noir, and it's a damn good one as well. Sporting a deeper ruby color and offering up overflowing notes of black raspberries, toasted spice, sweet oak, forest floor and a touch of marine-like saltiness, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, sexy, seamless and layered on the palate, with a terrific finish. Hats off to winemaker Eric Jensen, who's known as a Syrah and Grenache guy, for this smokin' effort. It should drink nicely through 2024 (although there's no need to hold off). As I've commented in the past, the wines from Eric Jensen at Booker are some of the most impressive releases coming out of California. While in the past, they relied on pure fruit and texture to impress, today they possess layered, elegant and complex characters paired with serious depth, richness and structure. While 2013 -2015 are all great vintages at this estate, the 2014s have more noticeable tannic grip and really deserve 2-3 years or more of cellaring.(JD)  (7/2016)

92 points Vinous

 Brilliant ruby-red. Bright, intensely perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, Asian spices and potpourri are energized by a vibrant mineral flourish. Fresh and incisive, displaying deeply concentrated raspberry and bitter cherry flavors along with suggestions of candied rose and star anise. The floral and mineral qualities return on the long, penetrating finish, which features silky tannins and a hint of cola. As is the case with pretty much all of the top producers in Paso Robles, Eric Jensen continues to tweak his wines toward greater elegance. This year’s set of releases show the result of that work. To be sure, these have always been rich, full-flavored wines, but recent vintages, despite having been made from low yields and predictably concentrated fruit, show unlikely vivacity and the balance to age. I also find a greater sense of oak integration, which makes the wines drinkable soon after release. That said these are concentrated, well-balanced wines that, in my opinion, really deserve to be cellared. Earlier this year Jensen bought back the adjacent 30-acre parcel he sold to Scott Hawley at Torrin in 2005, as Hawley decided to expand with a larger estate vineyard. (JR)  (9/2016)

K&L Notes

About the producer: "The name Booker comes from the two orphan brothers, Claude and Dick Booker, who had purchased the land in the late 1920’s. By the turn of the century the Booker brothers had acquired over 1,200 acres on Paso's Westside. The Booker brothers were Paso's favorite sons, dedicating their lives to being great farmers and humanitarians. Aside from lending their farming knowledge and manual labor to neighbors and those in need, they were the area's biggest philanthropists, leaving 100% of their estate to charity when they passed, Dick in 1990 and Claude in 2000. Eric and Lisa Jensen purchased 72 acres of the property in 2001 with the intent of growing the best fruit for some of the best wineries in the area (Linne Calodo and Saxum). After making wine with Justin Smith (of Saxum) for five years and Stephan Asseo (of L'Aventure Wines) for two years the Jensens decided it was time to create their own expression with Booker Vineyard. The 2005 Vintage was Booker Vineyard's first release with the wines being made by owner Eric Jensen."

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Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Paso Robles

- Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this inland AVA enjoys a sunny and hot growing period while its seaside neighbors hang in the fog. Zinfandel is the traditional red grape of choice, though cabernet, chardonnay, and Rhône varietals are gaining favor. Most are made in a fruit-forward, early drinking style.