2014 Booker "RLF" Paso Robles Pinot Noir
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)
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)
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."