Non-Vintage Wines: Broadening the Palate

Non-vintage (NV) wine does not resonate widely in our brave, New World wines. This old world technique allows winemakers to blend multiple vintages for added nuance and character, but usually remains a tool of the bubbly and fortified wine makers only–Port and Champagne particularly. Thankfully, J. Bookwalter Winery of Washington has deftly translated this technique to create a dry red blend, Notebook 4NV (their 4th non-vintage Notebook Red). Bookwalter Winery creates this blend to use up their excess juice after crafting their premier wines. However, Bookwalter’s excess is another vigneron’s treasure.

At $15 msrp, and frequently found at $9-$12, Bookwalter has set the bar high at this reasonable price point. Dusty raspberry and blueberry fills the mouth, and a fine layer of tannins rounds together the finish nicely. Upon drinking, you quickly realize something sets this wine apart. Fresh fruit aromatics and dusty gravel road, vibrant youth and raisined age. J. Bookwalter Winery makes the case emphatically for the accessibility and layered complexity of NV blends. This has instantly become a go to wine for me, and I look forward to tasting Notebook 5NV and beyond. Hopefully more wineries will explore NV winemaking, especially boutique wineries tempted to sell off excess juice to the mass-crush facilities for the sake of convenience. Perhaps they are intimidated by this deft execution. I would be.

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