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California Gems: 2017 Rivers Marie and Booker Vineyard––Highly Limited Offering!
For today, we have two special, cultish wineries that are both extremely limited and scored well. Due to scarcity, I have not tried these enough to give my own impression and rely on scores when available
 
  • 10% off 6, 15% off 12
  • Wines available mid-April
 
Booker Winery fell in my lap somewhat accidentally this week in an incredibly boring and anti-climatic story which leads us to some very allocated, small production wines with insane scores and very little to go around. Did I mention how little there is?
This is a winery very unknown to most people I mention to, but with an extreme cult following of goblins who go crazy for this stuff. Incredibly old school, age worthy Californian wines 
 


2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Fracture Syrah
Special Newsletter Price: $109.99
Just over half of the property is planted with Syrah. Booker puts its best barrels of Syrah into Fracture and then age in 228L Barriques. The name is a tribute to the high content of limestone in the soil. Limestone causes the vineyard soil to fracture rather than crumble.
97 Points Jeb Dunnuck:
The purple-hued 2017 Fracture (100% Syrah aging in 65% new barrels) is another wine that shows a more fresh, elegant style, all while still packing rock star levels of fruit and texture. Cassis, vanilla bean, spice, and background oak notes all emerge from this full-bodied Syrah that has a clean, balanced texture, terrific mid-palate depth, and fabulous tannin quality. It’s going to benefit from just short-term cellaring and cruise for a decade. 


2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard My Favorite Neighbor
Special Newsletter Price: $87.99
What started as an homage to Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Winery and his Bordeaux roots quickly became an obsession. Stretching wide across the Westside Hills of Paso Robles is clay soil amazingly similar to those found in Napa and Bordeaux. Today, these special sites are farmed meticulously by the farmers who have become My Favorite Neighbors. With their dedication to the land, we are able to craft a world class wine without any shortcuts or compromises. Welcome to the Neighborhood.  My Favorite Neighbor opens softly with luscious, dark fruit notes, seamlessly crosses the mid-palate and leaves you with a lengthy finish of blackberry compote and espresso.
98 Points Jeb Dunnuck

    2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Oublie
    Special Newsletter Price: $87.99
    Grenache, Counoise and Mourvedre. The lightest blends, aims to mimic a Chateaneuf du Pape and pair well with all types of food. The name is a French term for the “forgotten,” this references the Counoise grape which was used in the original blend though uncommonly seen in California wines.
    96 Points Jeb Dunnuck

    2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Pink
    Special Newsletter Price: $33.99
    A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache, the 2017 Booker Vineyard Pink has great aromatics highlighting cherry and strawberry fruit. It’s medium to full bodied with nice acidity, sweet fruit and a nice finish. This tall, dark, and handsome pink suits any occasion.  It can be your back porch sipper, your hot tub wine, your fancy country-club-luncheon wine… enthusiasts and wine newbies alike will be satisfied. 
    96 Points Jeb Dunnuck
      2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Ripper
      Special Newsletter Price: $92.99
      96 Points Jeb Dunnuck

      2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Tempranillo
      Special Newsletter Price: $92.99
      This Tempranillo is a beast of a wine, one of the few Booker wines that is best cellared for a few years before drinking. Booker has a very small corner block planted with Tempranillo. The winery does not bottle this wine every year, and when it does, it is usually the smallest case count of all its wines.
      96 Points Jeb Dunnuck

      2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard Vertigo
      Special Newsletter Price: $84.99
      Vertigo aims to be a traditional Rhone blend, a “G-S-M”. Booker ferments a portion of this wine whole cluster and uses stem inclusion to add a bit to its character in terms of tannin and spice. Booker named this wine ‘Vertigo’ in jest for one of Booker's steepest hillsides that grows Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
      Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points:
      Lastly, the 2017 Vertigo checks in as 63% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 4% Grenache, and the balance Petite Sirah that’s still aging in 65% new French oak. One of the more voluptuous, sexy 2017s from Jenson, it boasts loads of black and blue fruits, ground pepper, and spring flower aromas and flavors. Deep, full-bodied, ultra-pure, and with a big finish, it’s killer wine in the making. 


      2017 Booker Winery and Vineyard White
      Special Newsletter Price: $52.99
      The only white that Booker produces. This wine ages on average for 12 months in a concrete tank or new and used French oak barrels. Booker's goal with this wine each year is to create something that you haven’t tasted from a white before. The team wants this wine to be different, to surprise you, and if anything… to err on the funky side.
      Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: 
      The 2017 White is in the same ballpark and reminds me of a top Hermitage Blanc from Michel Chapoutier. Quince, honeysuckle, buttered citrus, marmalade, and white flower notes all flow to a full-bodied, concentrated, yet beautifully balanced white that does everything right. It’s that perfect match of richness and freshness, not to mention awesome purity.
       

      An incredibly cultish wine that I haven't been able to get in the past, until now....lucky us! The winemaker for Rivers-Marie, Thomas Rivers Brown. started Rivers-Marie in 2002 as his own personal project. On the side and in the past he has worked and consulted for wineries like Shraeder, Outpost and Maybach...to name a few.   According to Thomas, the Rivers-Marie project is a way to get in touch with his "feminine side" inspired by love for traditional Burgundy and Barolo.

       These are terroir driven, site specific wines with He uses native yeasts and a little bit of whole cluster to give complexity. Aging occurs mostly in used barrels - from no new wood in the Sonoma Coast, to between 10 and 30% in the single-vineyards depending on vintage and parcel. Given this restrained approach, it is not surprising that the wines age beautifully.
      Having said that, these wines are extremely, extremely limited. Be kind!


      2017 Rivers Marie Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
      Special Newsletter Price: $48.99
      Vinous 93 Points: The 2017 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) from Rivers-Marie is a fabulous wine in its peer group. Rich, intense and full of flavor, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay packs a serious punch. Orchard fruit, crème brûlée, butter, tangerine and yellow flowers all develop in a deeply-layered, resonant, utterly gorgeous Chardonnay. Although labeled as an appellation Chardonnay, all the fruit for the Sonoma Coast bottling comes from Riddle. More importantly, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a great example of just how compelling the 2017 vintage is at the top for Sonoma's Burgundian varieties. 

      2017 Rivers Marie Pinot Noir Summa Sonoma Coast
      Special Newsletter Price: $71.99
      Vinous 94 Points: The 2017 Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard is pliant, supple and engaging. The expression of fruit is more overt than in the Old Vines. Bright red cherry, plum, lavender, rose petal, mint, blood orange and raspberry are all beautifully delineated in a this striking, super-expressive Pinot that will be impossible to resist young. Creamy and beautifully textured, the 2017 has so much to offer. It is one of the many highlights in the range.

      2017 Rivers Marie Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Sonoma Coast
      Special Newsletter Price: $71.99
      Vinous 95 Points: The 2017 Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard is gorgeous. Bright, floral and wonderfully nuanced, the Occidental Ridge is another fabulous wine in this lineup. Silky tannins, pliant fruit and sweet, perfumed aromatics make for a captivating, wonderfully complete wine. Raspberry, blood orange, mint, hard candy, cherry liqueur, and cinnamon all shape a Pinot endowed with tremendous aromatic depth and layers of intensity that build in the glass. Don't miss it.

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