Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

J. Lohr’s abundance

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 at 10:04 am in Uncategorized.

Next time you’re in Paso Robles, make sure to stop by J. Lohr. Their Cabernet Sauvignon has long been one of my favorites, sort of like Wild Horse is my staple Merlot.

I spent a good hour at J. Lohr earlier this month, and it’s easy to see how you could spend a full day there. Affordable, sophisticated wines, free tasting, picnic areas and gorgeous vineyard views, it’s out there yet accessible, on Airport Road only 3 miles north of Hwy 46 E.

I purchased 4 bottles (a rarity for me) and had to share the goods. What I like about J. Lohr is their ability to be innovative and expansive without sacrificing quality. Seems like they’ve started a few new labels since I left the area three years ago. These wines are bright, with little or no oak and a “drink me now” vibe, mostly taken from recent trips by the winemaking team to Australia and the United Kingdom. They let the fruit shine, whether it’s Pinot Noir or White Reisling. Check it out:

2005 Crosspoint Pinot Noir: It’s produced from cool climate Monterey County grapes and has a light garnet color with juicy red fruits and some earth. The soft texture of the swill would be swell with grilled salmon or roast duck, especially at $14.

2005 Cypress Vineyards White Zinfandel (I know!): There’s only one other White Zin I like, and it comes from a Greek winemaker in Lodi. Otherwise, this is the kind. Fermentation and aging occur in stainless steel to preserve every ounce of fruit intensity. The wine is sealed with the modern new Stelvin closure to ensure that the bright fruit flavors and aromas of each varietal are preserved untainted. Rosy-pink in color with enticing bright fruit aromas — and flavors — of kiwi. It’s got refreshing, palate-cleansing acidity. So the folks who don’t want red with their grilled salmon can drink this instead. Only 9.8% alcohol. Unbelievable at $6.

2006 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié: Grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County, this grape was originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais winegrowing region, but U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France. Still smells and tastes like a Beaujolais — intense aromas and flavors of boysenberry, plum and blackberry with lingering acidity. The web site suggests serving it chilled or try it with fish and chips with aioli mayonnaise for a treat. Only $8.50!

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