2009 continued with a fourth consecutive year of drought in the Central Coast, with our Arroyo Seco vineyards receiving a scant five inches of effective rainfall. Unlike 2008, however, the weather was relatively warm in the first months of the new year, spurring early bud break. This was followed by some very hot days in May around flowering, but fortunately, the heat did not seem to adversely effect set, and crop levels in 2009 returned to more typical for the Arroyo Seco. The summer months of June, July and August were very cool, allowing a slow, marked maturation of the Chardonnay while retaining greater amounts of the natural grape acids. September was very warm and pushed the Chardonnay vintage along, with harvest commencing on September 20th with the pick of our French clones 95 and 76 in Block 4. For the next twenty two days, harvest progressed beautifully until the 13th of October, when Mother Nature surprised us with an unseasonable rain, which brought picking to a halt for several days until the vineyards dried out. A frenzy of harvest ensued with the final fruit being harvested in six days, ending on October 23rd and averaging 24.9° Brix.
The vines for our J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 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.
|Appellation||Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County|
|Composition (Blend)||99% Chardonnay, 1% Other White|
|Harvest dates||September 20th through October 24th.|
|Brix at harvest||24.9°|
|Malolactic||In barrel of 50% of Chardonnay|
|Maturation||Aged 8 to 10 months in barrels from new to fourth fill|
|Barrel type||American, Hungarian and French|
|Cellaring||Drink now or cellar up to 5 years|
2009 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonay has a bright and youthful straw yellow color. The aromas are of lime zest, ripe pear, nectarine and pineapple with caramel, butterscotch, honey and vanilla perfume from the barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. The flavors are very complex and rich with citrus, stone fruit and barrel toastiness gracefully balanced by fresh acidity, creating a very flavorful and wonderfully balanced Chardonnay.
Jeff Meier, winemaker