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J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Columbia Valley, Washington

Regular price $67.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $67.99 USD
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  • Tasting Notes

    The 2020 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon captivates with its blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah, and 5% Petit Verdot. Aromas of sweet cassis lead to a palate rich in luscious black fruit, accented by hints of bell pepper and espresso. Elegant plum notes add refinement, while velvety tannins provide a smooth texture and a satisfying finish. Balanced and age-worthy, this wine promises a delightful evolution with time but is equally enjoyable now.

    Deeply fruity and refined, this Cabernet Sauvignon blend boasts layers of flavor and a harmonious structure. Generous oak spices frame the super-ripe fruit, while subtle nuances from Syrah and Petit Verdot add complexity. With its silky texture and crisp acidity, this wine offers a memorable tasting experience that is both indulgent and sophisticated.

  • Story

    The story of J. Bookwalter Winery is one of family heritage, deep roots, and a centuries-old commitment to the land. For ten generations, the Bookwalter family has been entrenched in American agriculture, culminating in the establishment of J. Bookwalter Winery in 1982 by Jerry Bookwalter. Jerry, part of the ninth generation, transitioned the family from traditional farming into viticulture. He played a pivotal role in managing the plantings of the renowned Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Dionysus vineyards before becoming the vineyard manager of the prestigious Conner Lee Vineyard, which remains a vital grape source for the winery. Jerry's son, John Bookwalter, grew up in these vineyards but left in the late 1980s for a successful sales and marketing career. He returned in 1997 with a renewed vision for the winery, making significant improvements and expansions that solidified J. Bookwalter's reputation.

    Under John Bookwalter's leadership, J. Bookwalter Winery has evolved from one of Washington’s oldest wineries into one of the Pacific Northwest's most recognized boutique wine brands. Their wines are uniquely themed around literary concepts, reflecting a playful nod to the family name. This creative branding, coupled with their commitment to supporting literacy in Eastern Washington, underscores their dedication to both quality and community. In 2021, John entrusted the winemaking responsibilities to Jeremy Santo, a highly regarded winemaker, ensuring that the winery's tradition of excellence continues. Today, J. Bookwalter is celebrated for its exceptional vineyard sources and meticulous winemaking, producing some of the world's finest wines.

  • Somm Notes

    2020 was a relatively warm year for Washington, with a significantly smaller crop than average. Bud break began in mid April, well aligned with historical averages. October temperatures were above average, before a freeze event on October 25th brought the growing season to a close in many areas. While the crop was smaller, the combination of smaller berries and extended hang time is traditionally a recipe for high quality wine in Washington. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Verdot were harvested at the optimal balance of sugar and acid. Fermentation was done whole berry on the skins for 10-14 days. Once the desired structural balance was reached, the wine was drained off skins, placed in a mixture of both new and neutral oak for secondary fermentation. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged on the lees until blended. Sterile filtered prior to bottling.

    We recommend serving this wine with grilled high-quality meats, braised
    mushrooms, or cured meats.

    94 Robert Parker - Wine Advocate

    92 Wine Spectator

    93 James Suckling
    Deeply, lusciously fruity, this wine oozes strawberries, blueberries and black cherries on a structure of polished, fine-grained tannins. Generous oak spices help frame the super-ripe flavors that swell on the palate and linger in the finish.

    91 Wine Enthusiast
    89% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest split between Syrah and Petit Verdot, the Protagonist’s sweet blueberry tart and earthy oregano aromas are accompanied by bursts of graphite and wet slate. Medium-bodied with silky tannins and crisp acidity, flavors like black cherries and black tea with demerara sugar coat the palate.

    Two things:

    One - I love a well thought out brand and with other wines named after literary terms like conflict, protagonist, sublot, and others named after something book related - notebook and readers. It's a delightful turn at branding - chef's kiss.

    Two - I love when a region that is not as widely recognized really produces a stunner. Bookwalter wines do just that, consistent quality, and a depth of complexity that makes the argument that you shouldn't sleep on Washington wines - especially those reds!

    An hour max drive from Seattle, and you can find yourself sipping some Bookwalter Wines at their tasting room in Woodinville. Enjoy the occasional live music and food on their outdoor patio.

    J. Bookwalter Winery is dedicated to the community and the advancement of Washington state wines. Their commitment to literacy and education is demonstrated through corporate giving to local charities, including The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, Hugo House in Seattle, the King County Library System Foundation, and the Columbia Basin College Scholarship Foundation. Active in the Tri-Cities community, John Bookwalter and his team participate on boards and committees such as Visit Tri-Cities and the Tri-City Cancer Center. Additionally, John has served as chair of the Washington State Wine Commission and, along with his wife Gretchen, has been an honorary co-chair of the Auction of Washington Wines, highlighting their dedication to both community and industry support.

  • Region

    The grapes for the 2020 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from three distinguished vineyards, each contributing unique characteristics to the blend. The largest portion, 78%, came from Conner Lee Vineyard, a renowned establishment with a rich history dating back to 1980. Nestled in Washington state and recognized for its sandy loam soils and optimal ripening conditions, Conner Lee consistently yields grapes of superior quality. Notably, its status as one of the top Chardonnay sites in the Pacific Northwest underscores its reputation for excellence across varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot.

    Contributing 20% to the blend, Dionysus Vineyard boasts some of the oldest vines in Washington State, planted in 1988. Situated within the White Bluffs AVA, this vineyard benefits from diverse soils and optimal sun exposure, resulting in rich, dense grapes with exceptional flavor profiles. The unique subsoil, known as the Ringold Formation, imparts distinctive mineral characteristics to the grapes, enhancing their complexity and depth.

    The final 2% of grapes were sourced from Elephant Mountain Vineyards, located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA within the Yakima Valley. With elevations ranging from 850 to 3,085 feet, this region enjoys favorable conditions for grape cultivation, including warmer winter temperatures and reduced frost risk. The vineyard's elevation and soil composition contribute to the development of grapes with balanced acidity and expressive flavors, making it a valuable addition to the Protagonist blend. Overall, the combination of grapes from these esteemed vineyards results in a wine of exceptional quality, complexity, and character, reflecting the distinct terroir of each region.