2013 Bookwalter Cabernet Sauvignon Protagonist Conner-Lee Vineyard

Year: 2013
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Country: USA - Washington
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 91
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.9%
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95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah

"Rich, ripe and expressive, with a meaty note complementing the black cherry and dark plum flavors, remaining open-textured and graceful through the finish. The tannins are not intrusive. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Best from 2017 through 2023. 1,500 cases made.–HS " (WS)

"Another outstanding wine is the 2013 Protagonist (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) which spent 18 months in 50% new puncheons. It has a full-bodied, fresh, yet beautifully textured style to go with classic Cabernet notes of cassis, graphite, tobacco leaf and a kiss of bouquet garni. Like most of 2013s from Bookwalter, it’s relatively forward and charming, yet I suspect it will still evolve gracefully for at least a decade. Note, this cuvee comes from vines planted in 1987 and 1988." (WA)

"Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 95% of this wine, with the balance Syrah. It seems reductive out of the gate, making it a challenge to get at the black-cherry aromas. The dark fruit, fig and herb flavors are full in feel, seeming slightly dried out and backed by surprisingly soft tannins for the variety." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Vintage 2013 fruit from our vineyards revealed the highest recorded tannin and color potential yet seen in Washington. Our vintage portfolio carries a volume and weight that matched our house style of rich and smooth age worthy reds. Spring 2013 began the growing season without problems. Flowering June 7th–10th at Conner Lee Vineyard afforded an early ripening vintage. Summer temperatures were hotter than average with many July and August days over 100F. Verasion was early in August under good conditions, a hallmark of great vintages. Our well-managed vineyard blocks had fruit shaded with healthy canopies, balancing acidity and sugar ripeness while keeping fruit from sunburn. September’s heat ended with the early October storm, lowering temperatures in our interior dry desert. By October 10th, the vintage was record-breaking in total heat units, so cool weather was welcome. We then picked all our red fruit with ease under clear skies with cold nights at a leisurely pace.

All these Cabernets were hand picked in the mornings of October 16th–19th leading up to October’s Hunter’s full moon. We hand sorted the clusters, then destemmed into small one- and four-ton fermenters for hand mixing. Chilled and cold soaked for three days developing richness and smooth skin tannins, we then fermented slowly at cool temperatures below 87F. Hand mixed daily for two weeks on skins, fermentations finished primary ferment in puncheons and traditional Bordeaux cooperage. We stirred and aged on lees, reductively developing savory tones complementary to the powerful fruit. After 16 months, selected 60 of our favorite barrels from our old blocks at Conner Lee Vineyard for this reserve-styled Cabernet Sauvignon. With the addition of five barrels of choice syrah for aromatic lift and even darker color, we designed a final blend that describes Cabernet at its most classic 2013 vintage expression. Egg white fined prior to bottling, we then filtered for purity and aging stability.