A glance at the website of Paso Robles-based Booker Wines immediately reveals a commitment to minimalism. Like their bottle labels, the company’s story is conveyed using only the most essential of elements, aligning with the practice and philosophies of legendary Japanese designer Kenya Hara. This attention to detail and austere simplicity is what aesthetically sets Booker apart from its peers. Things are a bit more relaxed and informal with their other lines: Harvey & Harriet and My Favorite Neighbor, both of which received favorable marks from Chris back in 2021. This time, we’re enjoying a popular flagship wine, Vertigo, which sadly is not named after the Hitchcock movie filmed a few hours away from the winery. Instead, it derives its name from the feeling owner/operator Eric Jensen experienced while looking down a steep drop on the estate vineyard land while riding his four-wheel ATV.
The construction of Vertigo is ever-changing. This year’s vintage blends 62% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, 7% Grenache, 5% Petite Sirah, and 4% Tannat. It marks a departure from the last vintage I had the privilege of enjoying (2019), which featured a blend of 48% Syrah, 47% Mourvèdre, 3% Grenache, and 2% Viognier. While surprising to see a big increase in Syrah’s dominance, the addition of Tannat to the equation adds potential as an exciting element to the mix.
Letting this one sit for a good twenty to thirty minutes after opening isn’t the worst of ideas if you have time to spare, as deep notes of black cherry and currant dominate at first but floral and graphite notes develop and add nuance. Gentle tannins and acidity inform a very lengthy finish that offers notes of dark chocolate, a faint touch of Earl Grey tea, and more of the lovely dark cherry from the palate for some sweetness.
The simplicity of the bottle and presentation masks the complexity and delight unfolding in this blend over the course of an evening. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.
A / $85 / bookerwines.com