Most people in the California Wine game are no stranger to Booker Wines and Winemaker Eric Jensen. Jensen specializes in Rhône inspired blends in Paso Robles and has a history of extremely high scores from Robert Parker and other reputable wine critics. In fact, Jensen’s 2014 vintage of “Oublié,” a blend of Grenache, Mourvédre, and Counoise, and an homage to Châteuneuf-du-Pape, rightfully made Wine Spectator’s Top Ten List of 2017.
One of Jensen’s most unique wines is “My Favorite Neighbor,” an exciting Syrah-Bordeaux blend that he uses to pay tribute to the people who helped him make this amazing wine. The original vintage was used to pay respect to Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Wines, whose vineyard shares a border with Booker. Asseo is a French winemaker who moved to Paso Robles so he could break the confines of French winemaking law and make a multi-appellation blend, much like what Jensen sought out to make. Asseo became a great mentor to Jensen as soon as he came on wine making scene in Paso Robles, and helped influence his philosophy in winemaking.
In this new 2016 vintage, each bottle’s label features a black and white photo of one of Booker’s great friends, from vineyard workers to Stephan Asseo himself. On the back is a short, almost poetic story of that person’s involvement in shaping the wine, and why they’ve earned the title of Favorite Neighbor.
The 2016 vintage of “My Favorite Neighbor” is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot, and opens up with a deep jammy nose with heavy notes of blueberry pie and Crème de cassis. On the palate, flavors of smoked meat and tobacco take the lead, while blue fruits, licorice, and baking spices recline to the back seat. It flaunts a perfect balance of mouthwatering acidity and firm tannins, leaving behind a long, luscious, finish.
This big pseudo-Bordeaux-blend will pair wonderfully with a number of big, gamey, meat dishes, but there’s one in particular that stands out: Barbecued Pork Loin with Wild Berry Port Sauce, and a side of Mushroom Risotto. This dish has all the juicy, smokey, and savory notes to bring out all the complex flavors in this wine. This wine is complex, elegant, and wonderfully uncommon.
Whether you like a juicy Cabernet, or a bold Syrah, this wine will not disappoint. Go out and find yourself a bottle of Booker’s “My Favorite Neighbor” 2016 as soon as you can. You’ll be kicking yourself if you miss your chance to make it Your Favorite Neighbor too.
Check out all of Booker’s amazing wines at BookerWines.com or visit their tasting room at 2644 Anderson Road, Paso Robles, California.