2019 J Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon (sustainability)
Region: Paso Robles
THE J. LOHR STORY
Fifty years ago, Jerry Lohr embarked on a career change. What followed would reshape the landscape of the California wine industry and create one of the country’s most popular wine brands.
In the late 1960s, Jerry Lohr began an extensive investigation of California grape growing regions – searching for the ideal location for his first vineyard. Jerry was raised on a South Dakota farm; his agricultural roots armed him with an innate sense for the relationship between climate, soil, and location. His research and instincts led him to the Central Coast, an area just beginning to explore its potential for winegrowing.
Four decades ago, the California Central Coast had not yet emerged as one of North America’s world-class winegrowing regions. With little history or viticultural precedent, planting on the Central Coast was a gamble. One of a handful of early pioneers, Jerry Lohr was among the first to realize the inherent potential of Monterey and Paso Robles for producing high quality grapes and superb wines.
PIONEERING MONTEREY AND PASO ROBLES -JERRY LOHR LEGACY-
It’s no coincidence that the Central Coast’s emergence as a world class winegrowing region runs parallel with the establishment and growth of J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery. Founder Jerry Lohr is one of the region’s pioneers and has played a larger-than-life role in bringing the area to prominence.
Jerry’s instincts led him to two regions located about 75 miles apart. In the early 1970s, he chose Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district for its cool, windy climate and rocky soils as ideal for Chardonnay. In the 1980s, he recognized the potential of Paso Robles for growing Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon – given the area’s rich soils and dramatic diurnal temperature swings between warm days and cool nights.
After Jerry Lohr’s nearly decade-long search for the right place to plant his first vineyard, he chose a site in Monterey County that was to become the heart of the Arroyo Seco appellation. Jerry originally planted 280 acres in 1972 and 1973 near Greenfield. Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco appellation has proved ideal for growing layered, complex Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Brisk winds and fog off Monterey Bay, stony, well-drained soils, and a lack of damaging fall rains all combine to produce grapes with trademark fruit intensity and balancing acidity. In 1974, Jerry unveiled the first J. Lohr winery in San Jose.
In the early 1980s, Jerry Lohr saw the potential for great Cabernet Sauvignon further south. Borrowing a lesson from the French—that great Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon excel in very different growing conditions—Jerry began planting Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varieties in San Luis Obispo County’s little-known Paso Robles region in 1986. With the hands-on devotion of an artisan farmer, Jerry tended to the vines while diligently working toward the creation and development of an adjacent winery and barreling cellars; J. Lohr’s Paso Robles production facility was opened in 1988.
The 2019 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is exceptionally dark in color with aromas of blackberry, black currant, and toasted pastry crust. Dense and soft on the palate, with elegant layers of black and red currants leaving a bright finish.
- Brenden Wood, red winemaker
One of Paso Robles best known Cabernets – drawn from J. Lohr’s top vineyards throughout the appellation.
Half of the fruit for the 2019 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from the J. Lohr Shotwell Vineyard, located within the cool Templeton Gap-influenced El Pomar District of Paso Robles. A third was from our Beck Vineyard, which is uniquely located at a 1,700 foot elevation in the Creston District. The balance of the blend was from the J. Lohr Gean Ranch and another partner ranch, both within the Adelaida District. Our Paso Robles vineyards are blessed with long summer days of intense sunshine and near 100°F daytime temperatures followed by chilly, ocean-cooled nights in the 50s. These Cabernet vines are naturally stressed in the dry, often very gravelly, and sometimes lime and shale-laden soils. Water is at a premium in these vineyards, enabling the viticulturist to fine-tune pruning and irrigation to achieve dark fruit with resolved tannins year after year.
Preseason rainfall was higher than normal in 2019. We typically see slightly later budbreak in wets years, which delays the phenological stages for the entire vintage, including bloom, veraison, and harvest. This worked to our advantage in 2019. With adequate canopy and moisture to endure early summer heat spikes, our Cabernet Sauvignon was able to ripen well into the last weeks of October under ideal, temperate growing conditions. This led to Cabernet Sauvignon with extraordinary fruit intensity and depth of color.