The vintage of 2008 was the third consecutive drought year in the Central Coast with total rainfall amounting to less than seven inches. Additionally, we had a very hard freeze in January followed by very cool weather all the way to bloom in May. The end result was record low yields in Chardonnay primarily due to cool, windy weather during set. The only silver lining to this vintage was very mild weather throughout the summer with typical Monterey County fog and winds for much of June, July and August. We made a conscious decision to pick all of our Chardonnay fruit at riper levels, especially the French clones 76, 95 and 96 to further enrich the flavor of Riverstone Chardonnay. In 2008, that meant waiting until October 1st for the first pick of our French clone Chardonnay in Blocks 2 and 4 at 25.2° Brix and concluding harvest on October 23rd with the final pick of California clone Chardonnay at 26.1° Brix.
The 2008 vintage marks the twenty-second year of production of our Riverstone Chardonnay, from our vineyards in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County. Each year, starting in 1995, we have experimented with and have incorporated higher percentages of traditional Burgundian production techniques into Riverstone, until the desired complexity and end-results were achieved (reaching 60% in 2000). The result is a complex and nuanced Chardonnay with an abundance of Arroyo Seco fruit, with subtle barrel fermentation and malolactic character. The vines are grown primarily on Elder loam soils underlain by "riverstones" deposited over thousands of years from the Arroyo Seco River, allowing a four-foot rooting zone that keeps the vines’ vegetative growth and fruit in balance. Additionally, the cool climate and winds of the Salinas Valley extend the growing season and retain the natural grape acids and intense varietal character of the Chardonnay.
||Riverstone, Arroyo Seco AVA
||October 1st to October 23rd, 2008
|Brix at Harvest:
|| 0.70 g/100 ml
|pH at Bottling:
||13.9% by volume
||100% barrel fermented in combination of American, Hungarian and French oak at 55 to 65° F.
Malolactic fermentation in barrel of 50% of the Chardonnay
||8 to 10 months in combination of American, Hungarian and French Oak Barrels from new to fourth fill
The 2008 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay has a very youthful straw yellow color. The aromas are of ripe bosc pear, fuji apple, lime and honeysuckle combined with the perfumed vanilla and toasty oak bouquet from the barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation and sur lie aging creating an elegant Chardonnay from Monterey’s Arroyo Seco AVA. The flavors are very clean with ripe pear, subtle floral notes and vanilla toastiness, producing layers of complexity with an excellent balance of fresh fruit acidity and palate-weight. This wine is ideal for pairing with oven-roasted chicken, Dungeness crab or grilled salmon.
Jeff Meier, winemaker
Price: $14.00 750ml