This year at Christmas and over the New Year’s holiday, my family and I opened a series of bottles that had been sitting in an old wine fridge. One of these wines was from J Lohr, a Cabernet Sauvignon from 1999. I didn’t expect to get such great fruit from this bottle after so many years and what I assume were not perfect storage condition. The wine was full bodied and rich with great color, lift and juicy tannins. It was a welcome surprise and we drank a toast to my Uncle who was the wine’s original owner. My uncle Tony had a true passion for wine and was the first collector I ever met. He was also my dear beloved uncle who passed away in 2013.
He left us a number of wines, albeit not his huge collection which was basically stolen by members of his second wife’s family but that is a long and sordid tale not for this wine blog. In any event, this wine had me thinking about trips to California and how many more there should be in the near term. This wine from Paso Robles is part of the J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines which today covers more than 1,300 acres of cool-climate estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands regions of Monterey County. The founder made a bet on French varietals over 40 years ago and I’d say he won it.
In the stores today you can find the 2014 vintage which they say on their website is a “strong one” and “reminiscent of 2004.” An interesting fact I discovered is that the Seven Oaks vineyard was initially planted on its own rootstock, such a rarity in the US. There are apparently different rootstocks and clones of cabernet used to augment the expressive qualities of this terroir which has gravel, clay and limestone in it on their property. I found one from the 2001 vintage that was priced at around $19. The latest vintages are selling for under $10, a pretty good wine for that price I dare say.