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J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot 2007

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE93
14.8% ABV
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • WE90
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • RP90
  • WE92
  • WE92
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5.0 2 Ratings
14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Our Foreshadow Merlot showcases our best Merlot vineyards in the Columbia Valley and Red Mountain appellations. The wine shows classic Merlot varietal characters and exhibits aromas of spice and subtle dried herbs, black olive, bright red to slightly dark fruit with finishing scents of vanilla and sandalwood. The wine enters the palate sweet, has a medium plus weight in the mid palate and exhibits flavors of baker's chocolate, black cherries, cola and anise. The wine finishes with beautifully integrated fine-grained tannins and firm acidity. Given the nature of this wine's concentrated dark fruit core, tannin structure and acidity, I would recommend cellaring before near term consumption. Optimal cellaring for this merlot is in the 5–8 year range, however it will certainly age longer with proper care.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Supple and layered, this nicely captures the scope and scale of this superb vintage. It’s still young, tight and quite compact, but shows threads of tobacco, anise, stone and pencil lead, along with full, fleshy, plum and cassis fruit. Great structure and dense, ripe tannins. This is a perfect illustration of why Washington Merlot can claim to be the best in the world outside of Pomerol.
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J. Bookwalter

J. Bookwalter

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J. Bookwalter, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Jerry Bookwalter has been in agriculture since graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Ag. Production in 1962. His past career as manager for Sagemoor Farms has given way to vineyard management and winemaking. Jerry began making wine in 1983. Wines include award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat Blanc and Merlot as well as Red Table Wine, Johannisberg Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

YNG760021_2007 Item# 109013