Friday, October 23, 2009

*** $$ Bookster Pinot Noir, 2006, Sonoma, CA - Wine Review and Rating

Original Review, February, 2008:

The Bookster Pinot Noir from Sonoma, CA, hails from Sherbrooke Cellars wholesalers and importers. They offer some interesting wines, like Finnegan's Fin and Chaz Point Cabernet Sauvignon, but their impoverished website is one of the sparsest I've encountered. (editor's note October, 2010, the website is getting better)

According to retailer Zachys, the wine "is a blend of several choice vineyards, mostly in Russian River Valley, but a few in Sonoma Coast. Most are from cooler sites, which highlight the bright, focused fruit. With flavors ranging from cranberry, to bing cherry and blackberry with a silky texture, intertwined with cinnamon spice notes." The Bookster Pinot Noir checks in at 13.5% alcohol.

Let's see what this young, value-priced pinot noir is like....

In the glass, it is a medium mahogany red - not atypical for the varietal. Aromas are of candied cherries, medium-bold.

On the palate, you experience an extremely smooth, almost svelte consistency - like dietetic cherry pie. That's both the good and the bad news. No one could ever call this unpleasant. But hard to acknowledge it as truly memorable. I will give it three stars out of five on the Spirit of Wine scale.

Updated Review, October, 2009, a year and a half later: Color has held consistent. The candied cherries on the nose have become stewed cherries and plums, much more subtle. On the palate, you pick up first the mid-red cherries, now fairly bright and slightly sour-sweet. The full, slightly rich middle remains in place.

Overall, not a new-world "wow" experience, and not really the old world complexity you'd expect in compensation. So, overall, I'd say that with the extra age, Bookster Pinot Noir has fallen to two stars on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for the memories of its more-glorious past. My suggestion thus is that you drink Bookster Pinot Noir fresh, within two years of vintage date.

In this respect, you'll discover that pinot noir remains a bit of an enigma in terms of when it is best to drink. Often, pinot noir shows its best face immediately upon bottling, wanting the youthful aromas and bright clean acids to show off its fruit. In some locales, especially in France with its Burgundies, age brings helpful elements to the pinot noir. (Remember that in France, wines are generally named by their region, not their grape variety. Still, certain regions are almost exclusively associated with a given varietal. That is the case, for instance, with Burgundy and pinot noir.)

Updated, with additional decant. I left a half-bottle of the Bookster Pinot Noir for a one-day decant in bottle, vacuumed with a Vac-u-Vin. Interestingly, it picked up sweetness and depth with the extra time, bringing it back to three stars. So, an enigma, indeed, now wrapped in a mystery!

Find Bookster Pinot Noir at

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