Published May 5, 2014


The Boekenoogen name might sound foreign because of its Dutch heritage. But the Boekenoogen family came to California on covered wagons in search of gold during the gold rush in the mid 1800s. They made their living for many years as cattle ranchers until they saw the great potential for growing grape vines in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Now, they are one of the few wineries that produces wines on the same property where they grow their grapes. A wine’s geographical origin as printed on the bottle does not have to represent where the grapes were grown or even where the wine was made; it simply means that’s where the wine was bottled. So, this gives new meaning to the term “Estate Wines” and Boekenoogen wines are grown, made, and bottled on their property.

Their Viognier has nice crisp acidity with the token floral fragrance and tropical banana thickness. But a hint of smoke rounds out this wine with more layers than most whites. A Chardonnay has bright balanced acidity and fruit flavors of melon and banana with stone fruit. Compare this with another Chardonnay and you’ll see how its creamy texture mellows out the fruit’s acidity and balances it.

Their Pinot Noir starts out juicy with lots of eucalyptus and earth. The bigger darker fruit emerges like blackberry and Bing cherry which appears to mellow out the earthiness. Their Zinfandel has plenty of that berry flavor without overwhelming jammy body found in some zins from the valley. Nice crisp acidity and a bit of earth balance it out for the trifecta of flavors and slight pepper on the long finish make it delightful for heavy or rich foods.

This is a great place to see what everyone means when they talk about a “cool climate Syrah” because you can taste both of theirs side by side and feel how the first one’s tart cranberry acidity balanced by berry smoke and earth compares with one that has more plum and berry with mellow acidity and more cocoa and smokey layers.

More of my adventures in this region


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