Monday, July 3, 2017

Visiting Paso Robles - J. Lohr Vineyards

J. Lohr Vineyards set up shop in Paso Robles thirty years ago when founder Jerry Lohr choose the region to produce world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Our group met assistant winemaker, Brenden Wood at the renowned Hilltop Vineyard to taste some of the new releases.

Wood joined J. Lohr in 2004 as a lab tech with a focus on quality control. He has been the assistant winemaker under Steve Peck for a decade now. Wood says he likes the small lot production techniques that J. Lohr promotes even though it is a larger winery. Wood talked about the different tiers of wine that they produce, from the every day drinkers to club exclusives, in the hopes that they are creating a wine for everyone.

The Tasting:

The Gesture line was originally created for the wine club members but is now available for purchase to all. Find it in the tasting room and on-line. Both of the following wines are from the 2016 vintage which was a bit cooler helping to create fruitier wines with great acidity.

J. Lohr Gesture Grenache Rosé 2016 - With only 302 cases produced, this wine has sold out. It was quite refreshing with strawberry and tropical notes.

J. Lohr Gesture Viognier 2016 - Also a smaller production at 545 cases, the grapes for this wine were
sourced from the Gean Vineyard in the Adelaida District which has shallow rocky soil on mountain hillsides and a climate similar to the Rohône. The medium bodied white was lush and ripe with nectarine, honeysuckle and a stony minerality in the lingering finish. 14.5% ABV / SRP $30

From the more widely available and wallet friendly Estate Series:
J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2014 - The grapes for this wine come from the cooler El Pomar District of Paso Robles where the fast draining soils naturally limit vine growth and improve the wine quality. Bright aromas and flavors of plum, mocha and nutmeg in a medium body with smooth tannins and a light toasted note in the finish. 13.8% ABV / SRP $15

From the Cuvée Series which consists of  three different Bordeaux-styled blends which Wood explained was their highest level of wine from premium Paso Robles vineyards made only in the best vintages:
 J. Lohr Cuvée Series St. E 2013 - With a nod to the wines of St Emilion in Bordeaux, this wine is a blend of 63% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 4% Malbec grown on gravelly well-drained soil during an ideal growing season. The wine is ripe with red plum and dark berry aromas and flavors with espresso, dark chocolate and a light savory note in the long finish. There were only 994 six pack cases produced. 14% ABV / SRP $50