When comparing California wine styles to those of other regions around the world, one theme that emerges is the riper style and generally higher alcohol content of California wines versus Old World wines. The French in particular are accustomed to a climate where chaptalization (adding sugar to unfermented grape must to increase the alcohol content after fermentation) is required in most vintages, while California sunshine nearly always assures fully ripe fruit. (Some would say overripe.) The 2011 vintage paralleled 2010 in Paso Robles where we saw the coolest daily temperatures in a decade in our vineyards. A spring frost reduced yields to just over 2 tons per acre. We achieved intensely ripe flavors at lower Brix levels than we’ve seen, but for Grenache, that means 27° as opposed to 29° Brix with crisp, turgid fruit. A cooler vintage aids in color development and preserves the delicate fruitiness of Grenache in the aroma and finish.
The vineyard source of Grenache and Mourvèdre in this blend is from a property once known as Gravity Hills. Located in the Willow Creek district in the western part of the Paso Robles AVA, these decade-old vines are planted on a steep, southwest-facing lime-shale hillside. The 23% slope in these blocks makes simply walking this vineyard very difficult. Our farming plan brings the crop to one cluster per shoot after bloom, and in order to intensify flavor, these large-clustered varieties require trimming off the wings and the lower third of the clusters shortly after set. The Syrah component for this blend comes from Terra Bella Vineyard, located within the warmer Adelaida district of the western Paso Robles AVA at an elevation of 1,800 feet.
|Origin:||Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA|
|Composition:||60% Grenache, 37% Syrah, 3% Mourvèdre|
|Harvest Dates:||Grenache picked November 9th, 2011|
|Harvest Process:||Hand-harvested fruit was destemmed and berry-sorted before fermentation|
|Harvest Chemistries:||27.2° Brix, total acidity 0.87, pH 3.38|
|Yeast: Maurivin Distinction|
|Fermentation: Fermented in open-top fermentors, with light punch downs daily|
|Temperature: Three day cold soak followed by a moderate 88°F fermentation temperature|
|Maceration: 9 days on skins prior to pressing|
|Malolactic: 100% malolactic, V. Oenos strain in puncheons|
|Maturation: 15 months in puncheons|
|Barrel type: 500 liter French oak puncheons from Francois Frères, 25% new|
|Bottle Aging: Released 4 months after bottling|
|Total Acidity: 0.65 g/100ml|
|Alcohol: 14.75% by volume|
|Res. Sugar: 0.00 g/100ml|
|Cellaring: Enjoyable now, but will age gracefully for 6 to 8 years|
|Cases Produced: 411|
“The 2011 J. Lohr Gesture GSM is medium in color with a bright hue. A high-toned Grenache blend filled out with a generous amount of rich Syrah and just a touch of savory Mourvèdre. One year in French oak puncheons contributes aromas of baking spice and adds palate structure to the wine. Racy with acidity, this wine will complement any Mediterranean menu.”
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker
Pairs well with grilled meats or fish seasoned with traditional Herbes de Provence. Try with spicy crab cakes, vegetable stew or an arugula-topped pizza.