J. Bookwalter Readers Merlot (4)


I received this bottle while visiting WD and friends while on a trip through sonoma a couple weeks back. These notes are from a 1/2 bottle I consumed last weekend, the other 1/2 went to Kyle. This is a Washington merlot based blend. the blend is 80% Merlot 12% Cabernet 6% Cab Franc 2% Syrah. Upon pouring from the screw top bottle I noted the color was a deep/dark red almost purple and was sediment free. The bottle is also fairly heavy.

It came across very tight, moderate aromatics but still very fresh and youthful. The primary fruit note is cranberry with a lot of oak and quite a bit of heat and if blindfolded I would have never guessed merlot, I probably would have guessed syrah. It opened up a bit later. I initially was really not a fan of this wine, it reminded me of some of the heavier wines in the Fejellene cellars offers we had a few years back. Over extracted, over oaked. With some time in the glass (nearly 2 hours) I felt it opened up and became enjoyable.

The wine is dry, full bodied, decent acidity and moderate but soft tannins. Right out of the gate I would not call this wine balanced, given some time it comes around into something a bit more enjoyable. Notes of oak, alcohol, plum, and dusty cherry were what I got though the 3 + hours I tasted/drank it.

This is clearly a modern style wine and not really a style I enjoy. The oak and alcohol don’t seem to be balanced by the fruit up front which tells me maybe lay it down for awhile and see if its knits. Its also a screw top so I’m not sure how that would impact any attempt at aging it a little bit.

As always I thank WW for the opportunity to try a bottle out and report back.




J. Bookwalter Readers Merlot 4-Pack
$69.99 $132.00 47% off List Price
2014 Readers Merlot, Columbia Valley

As you may know, I do not like Merlot. It’s one of a few varieties I just don’t understand. But, this one wasn’t bad. It kind of reminded me of the cabs that were popular when I first started into wine 10 year or so ago. Not CS-like, but maybe treated like one from a winemaking standpoint. I want to be clear – I don’t mean this pejoratively at all. I kind of liked this wine, but a) Merlot and b) not my style. My guess was retail at $32 and offered at just under $20 after my $$ CA taxes. Here’s my note:

Darker color than most Merlots I’ve had. Big, fruity nose. The wine smells plush and rich, if that makes sense. There is a hint of alcohol but other than that,very pretty. It smells of sweet dark red fruits. It smells almost creamy.

Definitely oak presence on the palate. Quite a bit, I’m guessing. This is med-full bodied. Slightly astringent tannin (oak?). A nice acid structure that follows the wine over the entire palate. There’s some red fruit but I’m getting mostly oak here (vanilla, spice), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for a Merlot!

I like this wine. I think this is a popular style and would go over well for a lot of casual drinkers. Or snobs, certainly, if you like the style. It tastes good. Just too oaky for me.

Is that a subway sandwich napkin behind the wine?


Or a chocolate chip cookie, to go?

Don’t miss the quality art work above the napkin/cookie!


My 4 year old has a very heavy hand. His coloring attempts break most crayons in 1/2.
I’m enjoying the side track.

Looks like my son’s “black phase” of coloring when he was about 3. Only color he would use.

In for one based on your “reminded me of Fjellene” comment … I loved those! thanks!

Did you find it immediately approachable or did it need time to open up a bit?

The oak settled a bit after some time opened but it wasn’t anything approaching bad on the PnP.

The beauty of the grape debater program at work. Honest reviews for better or for worse (at least from the winery’s standpoint) by people who enjoy wine, drinking it and talking about it. Thanks WD.

I split another review bottle for Monday’s offer with mr. Mittskus so come on back and debate that one.

Shared this bottle with a friend last night over dinner. We whipped up a veggie-licious pasta dish, pasta made from actual veggies. It was spicy and hearty without being heavy.

I say all this to compare to the wine, which was very similar to the meal we had. Not necessarily a spicy wine, but it has its own uniqueness and depth without being heavy like a cab. It was easily approachable, did not require any real aerating or decanting. In fact, we went through our first glasses before thinking, wait a second, we’re supposed to review this stuff right??? That’s how smooth and easy to drink it was. Once we started to try and pay attention to what we were drinking, we were pleasantly surprised at the subtle nature of its complexities.

An interesting wine without any pomp or pre-tense. Eminently drinkable. You will most certainly enjoy.