J. LOHR is a longtime California producer you can bank on. These people map their own destiny. “We have been an estate-focused winery for more than 40 years,” says J. Lohr’s President, COO and Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier. “With more than 3,700 acres of estate vineyards, our estate program is the heart of who we are.” Estate vineyards? That may be winespeak to some, but it means vineyards the winery owns and manages — in Lohr’s case, micro-manages. It means they do not buy wine in bulk from other producers. They grow it. At J. Lohr, if they do buy grapes from other growers, it’s from people they have had long-term contracts with. Riverstone Chardonnay is named for the stones deposited by the Arroyo Seco River in California’s Monterey County. The stones limit the soil depth and keep the vines in balance. Read the back label: “Made in our family-owned winery, this wine was grown, crafted and packaged using environmentally responsible practices.”
J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay Arroyo Seco Monterey 2014, $14: What an elegant powerhouse for the price. But that’s what Lohr wines are all about — quality achieved through careful site selection, clonal selection and handling during the winemaking stages. Inhale and experience the spicy, toasty oak streaming through the aromas of apple, nectarine, hazelnut, citrus. As director of winemaking Jeff Meier describes it, “the palate weight (of the wine) is plump and rich.” Honeyed, nutty tones stand out in the midpalate. Wonderful acidity holds this big, rich wine together. It has so much texture and weight it’s like an essence. It was barrel-fermented and aged seven to nine months in new and used oak. This wine is dry, packed with complexity and may take an experienced wine lover to pick up on everything — for a mere 14 dollars.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at email@example.com.