2017 Bookwalter Cabernet Sauvignon Protagonist Conner-Lee Vineyard

Year: 2017
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Country: USA - Washington
Wine Advocate: 92
James Suckling: 94
Jeb Dunnuck: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.8%
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"The 2017 Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon Dionysus Vineyard is luscious and juicy with ripe, healthy fruit showcasing aromas of cinnamon, chocolate-covered cherries, black raspberry and dusty black plum tones before redcurrant and crème de cassis waft out of the glass. Full-bodied and with a velvety, round richness, the fruit's complexity and layers continue to unfold and unpack across the mid-palate. It has a balanced structure that leads to a long, lingering finish with flavors of cinnamon, vanilla and dark, dusty cherries that fade on the tongue." (WA)

"This is a big, rich red with lots of concentrated fruit and power. Full body, chewy tannins and loads of fruit at the finish. Ripe berries, chocolate and walnuts with some smoky wood. Bigger, bolder style. Drink after 2022." (JS)

"More cassis, tobacco, and violets notes emerge from the 2017 Protagonist and it too is medium-bodied, elegant and fresh, with a light texture. Both of these drop off slightly on the finish but are solid, outstanding wines. This cuvee is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Syrah, aged in 80% new French oak." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Dark and powerful fruit and lovely oak introduce this reserve wine. Classic ripe Cabernet Sauvignon aromas fill this richly perfumed wine. Fragrant currant and black cherry, dark chocolate and sweet French oak tones harmonize with mineral and spice tones in this powerful reserve old vine Cabernet. Long flavors and powerful structure come from low yielding vines and fully extracted winestyle. Fragrant and able to delight now, it will age for years to come, like the many vintages before.

The 2017 is another stunning vintage at Bookwalter. Despite smoke haze during harvest, because of careful testing our wines’ natural character was preserved and classic flavor extraction to ideal reserve proportions was achieved. 2017 yielded an average crop which ripened early in the season. We lowered our yields and by harvest the vintage was measuring abundant color and tannin. Our vintage portfolio carries a volume and weight that matched our house style of rich and smooth age worthy reds. Spring’s early budbreak and flowering in June at Dionysus Vineyard was followed by a warm month of heat creating small cluster yields. Summer temperatures were hotter than average again with many July and August days over 100°F. Verasion began in early August and completed quickly, a hallmark of great vintages. Our well managed vineyard blocks had fruit shaded by a few west side leaves keeping fruit from sunburn. We picked our fruit perfectly ripe at 125 days of ripening.

The block Cabernets were hand sorted on the vine closely then picked by hand the first weeks of October and again sorted at the winery going into tanks. We mixed by pump over and punch down for three weeks. The vintage was measured for anthocyanins and tannins daily allowing us a perfect balance of extractables to build into our favorite tanks for these reserves. Fermentation completed in new French oak puncheons. We aged on lees reductively developing savory tones complimentary to the powerful fruit. After 20 months, we selected each puncheon for this reserve bottling. We then blended and filtered for purity and aging stability. This rich wine will age for a decade or two, enjoyable with a host of foods throughout those seasons.