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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

J. Bookwalter Protagonist 2007

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WS93
  • WE92
  • RP90
14.9% ABV
  • JS93
  • WE92
  • WS92
  • RP91
  • WS91
  • WE90
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • WS91
  • RP90
  • WE90
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4.6 15 Ratings
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4.6 15 Ratings
14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2007 vintage of Protagonist delivers classic, structured Red Mountain fruit with the hallmark dark fruit characteristics of the vintage. The always-present dusty minerality from Red Mountain is wrapped around flavors of cherries, blackberries, dried herbs, spice and the spine you would expect from the two most notable vineyards on Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun. A very age-worthy wine, recommended cellaring 8–15 years.

69% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Polished and round, offering a juicy mouthful of plum, black currant, wet earth and hot stone flavors that push right through a fine layer of refined tannins. Impressive for its minerality, expressiveness and length. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2017.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Lushly aromatic and toasty, the substantial oak flavors are set against deep, brambly berry and cassis fruits. There are subtle suggestions of mint and some alcoholic heat, and an interesting orange peel scent carries into the mouth. The tannins are big and ripe and not at all bitter or too heavy.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2007 Protagonist Red Mountain is made up of 69% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc with the balance Syrah and Petit Verdot. Notes of cedar, spice box, violets, cassis, and black cherry lead to a savory but slightly less concentrated wine than the Conner Lee cuvee. It has plenty of tasty fruit, ripe tannins, and good balance. Give it 2-3 years to fully blossom and drink it from 2012 to 2022.
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J. Bookwalter

J. Bookwalter

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J. Bookwalter, Columbia Valley, Washington
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The story of J. Bookwalter Winery is a story of family heritage, deep roots and a centuries-old commitment to the land. Ten generations of the Bookwalter family have been involved in American agriculture. But it was Jerry Bookwalter, generation nine and father of current company president John Bookwalter, who led the family into viticulture. After graduating from UC-Davis in 1963, Jerry spent 13 years farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley before moving his family in 1976 to the Tri-Cities in Washington State.

Once there, he firmly stamped the Bookwalter name on the state’s nascent wine industry. From 1976 through 1982, Jerry helped manage the plantings of three iconic vineyards – Sagemoor, Bacchus and Dionysus.

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.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

YNG760023_2007 Item# 108094