Former Newport Beach resident Eric Jensen has really made a name for himself up in Paso Robles. His Booker lineup of wines specializes in Rhone varieties (such as Syrah, Grenache, and Petit Manseng) and have become highly sought after for their intensity, complexity, and sheer enjoyment. If you're the type that's interested in scores, Booker is one of the few Paso Robles wineries to have earned 100 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate!
Eric's My Favorite Neighbor label started as an homage to his mentor Stephan Asseo of L'Aventure winery; Stephan would always call and say "Hello Eric, this is Stephan, your favorite neighbor". This was Eric's foray into fine-tuning the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet-based blends he was making. Eric was able to find clay soils in Westside Paso Robles (an area known for its limestone-rich soils), and took advice from Benoit Touquette (who makes Realm Cellars, Fait-Main, and Teeter Totter) and Toni Biagi (who makes Patria)...over deliver and under charge, and do it using the best sites, the best winemaking team, and sparing no expense on barrels or equipment. Judging by the last few releases of his My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet, we'll say that he has been doing exactly that!
The rich clay soils that are strikingly similar to those of Napa and Bordeaux stretches around the Westside Hills of Paso Robles where every site that contributes to MFN is farmed using organic practices, and for some, even biodynamic. There is also some fruit from outside the Paso Robles AVA in this bottling, which brings that extra bit of complexity and freshness. These old school values are fused with a winemaking approach that is driven by science and cutting edge technology without concentrates, shortcuts, or compromises, ever. These practices enable the My Favorite Neighbor Team to make wines that consistently stand up to the most notable cult Cabernets in the world.
Are we exaggerating?...not at all. In fact, this 2019 vintage just received 96 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and it sells for less that $50 a bottle! It is not uncommon for California Cabernets with this score to sell for twice, or even three times this price. But Eric and his crew want to be good neighbors, and bring us all wines that overdeliver for the money.
The 2019 My Favorite Neighbor features a complex nose of red cherry, currant and raspberry along with wild herbs, violets, and just a hint of toasted marshmallow. On the palate, generous flavors of black cherry, ripe plum, and fig compote is joined by notes of medium roast coffee and creme brulee. The extremely long and mineral finish is characterized by a hefty structure and luxurious, silky tannins.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS! - "Blended with a bit of Syrah and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep ruby-purple color and an alluring fragrance of cassis, violet, aniseed, bitter chocolate and coffee beans. It's notable this vintage for Goldilocks ripeness and seamless lift, offering a chocolate-like texture and very long finish."
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS! - " The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is more elegant and focused, with medium to full-bodied aromas and flavors of cassis, redcurrants, green tobacco, and cedary spice. I love its texture, it has ripe, polished tannins, plenty of sweet fruit, and a great, great finish, all while staying in a relatively compact, and again, elegant package. As I've written in the past, it would cost three to four times the price from Napa. It's worth noting the change in appellation from Paso Robles to San Luis Obispo County, which probably allows for a wider range of fruit."