Booker Vineyard is located on Paso Robles' Westside, immediately joining the famous Stephan Vineyards that produce L'Aventure Wines. The high-density vineyard is mostly Rhone varieties planted on steep hillsides of calcareous shale.
The name Booker comes from the two orphan brothers Claude and Dick Booker who had owned the land, as well as hundreds of more 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.
After making wine with Justin Smith for five years and Stephan Asseo for two years, the Jensens decided it was time to create their own expression with Booker Vineyard. The 2005 vintage was Booker Vineyards first release with the wines being made by owner Eric Jensen. The wine making style is extremely soft and hands-off, attempting to let the fruit finish what it started seven months earlier. They rarely use a pump, never rack or filter, and use minimal sulfur.
"At Booker Vineyard we have dedicated our lives to farming perfection. We are constantly striving to find perfect balance in our vineyard, which means continuously being aware of new sustainable practices and methods. Beginning in the Spring of 2009 we will begin our venture into the world of Biodynamics. Ours will be a cross between farming organic, sustainable and biodynamic, where we treat the entire vineyard as a living organism. We will attempt to grow our own food, raise our own meats and put all of the waste back into the vineyard in the form of compost tea. Animals will be placed in charge of weed control and solar panels will be placed at the house and winery.
The planting of the vineyard is entirely on hillsides that are made up of pure calcareous shale, allowing for very little vine vigor. Other than large projects such as pruning and fruit thinning, Eric Jensen farms the entire vineyard with his assistant, allowing total visual and physical control. Most of the Vineyard is on 7x3 spacing, averaging about 2.5 tons to the acre which is just over two pounds per plant. Below is a list of the wineries that purchase our fruit; all of whom we are very proud." - bookerwines.com
Wine Advocate 8/2016
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.
Wine Advocate 8/2014
"Created in 2005, owner/winemaker Eric Jenson has pushed Booker Vineyard into the top 2-3 estates in the region. While the defining trait in the past was sheer richness and texture, I think the wines today show more complete profiles, with beautiful mid-palate density, fabulous purity of fruit and sound underlying tannic structure, all while not giving up on the core of awesome fruit and texture that makes this region so special."
Booker 2013 'Fracture' Syrah Voted #68 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2015
"Paso Robles has made a name with Rhone-style wines, and Booker winemaker Eric Jensen was among the leaders. Since its debut in 2005, the winery has consistently produced rich, powerful yet balanced Syrahs. Fracture is 100% Syrah selected from Booker's best barrels. The 72-acre estate vineyard, which is farmed biodynamically, is planted on a hillside with limestone soils. To make 'Fracture' more accessible, Jensen ferments whole berries, aging the young Syrah in mostly new French oak."
Vinous by Antonio Galloni 7/2014
"This is a gorgeous set of wines from Booker and Eric Jensen. The 2012 reds aren't quite as explosive as they can be, which is not a bad thing, considering the wines already have so much pure power and intensity. Over the last few years, Jensen has been at the top of the pack in Paso, but in 2012s, his wines are pretty much in line with the overall quality level of the year, rather than standouts. Still, these remain some of the most unique wines in Santa Barbara."
The Wine Advocate 2012
"Behind Eric Jensen’s outgoing, boisterous personality lies the mind of one of the most thoughtful and introspective winemakers in Paso Robles. An unending drive for perfection means Jensen is satisfied with nothing but the very best. Over the last few years, that has led to some serious rethinking in the vineyards and cellar. Today, the wines are more polished than they have ever been. I have also included notes on the ‘22’ series of wines that spend a few extra months in barrel. The handful of 2011s I tasted were delicate, perfumed and quite pretty, but with less depth and structure than either the 2009s or the 2010s. One day, when the vineyards of Westside Paso Robles are fully understood, I have little doubt Booker will occupy a place at or near the top. Eric Jensen’s relentless passion and commitment for excellence make Booker the single most exciting emerging property in Paso Robles."