The 2007 vintage was largely defined by a shortage of winter rainfall which was just 40% of normal. This resulted in intense fruit with 10-20% lower yields than 2005 and 2006 in general. Seasonal summer heat spikes occurred earlier than normal, before the fruit had softened at veraison. The daily maximum temperature exceeded 100 degrees only three times between veraison and harvest in this vineyard, which allowed slow, even flavor and color development in this late ripening Rhône variety native to Spain.
The Mourvèdre for this wine was grown in the Gravity Hills Vineyard, located in the Willow Creek district on the western edge of the Paso Robles AVA. These ten-year-old vines are planted on a steep, southwest facing, limeshale hillside. The 23% slope in this block makes just walking the vineyard very difficult. Our farming plan brings the crop to one cluster per shoot for this large-clustered variety, which requires trimming off the wings and the lower third of the clusters shortly after set to intensify flavor and color. We hand-harvested into half-ton bins on October 31st. Weather was ideal for bringing about full ripeness in 2007, and the final picking decision was predicated on a moderation of fruit acidity just before picking.
We used 15% Syrah clone 877 from block 1 of Terra Bella Vineyard to round out this varietal blend. Located at 1800 feet elevation within the warmer Adelaida district of the Paso Robles AVA, this fruit was picked on October 11th. Terra Bella Vineyard has quickly attracted the attention of Rhône-style winemakers since its development in 2001.
|Origin:||Gravity Hills and Terra Bella Vineyards|
|Varietal:||85% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah|
|Brix at Harvest:||28° Brix average|
|Total Acidity:||0.70 g/100 ml|
|pH at Bottling:||3.50|
|Alcohol:||15.96% by volume|
|Residual Sugar:||0.15 g/100ml|
|Vinification:||After de-stemming, the berries were sorted on our VB Mistral system. Cold soaked fruit was fermented in open top tanks with a gentle punch-down regime. After fermenting to dryness in tank, this wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel.|
|Maturation:||15 months barrel aging in one and two-year-old French oak.|
|Bottling Date:||March 17th, 2009; 392 cases produced.|
Mourvèdre is generally utilized as a blending variety to contribute “bass notes” to Rhône-style wine blends. Bottled as a standalone varietal, Mourvèdre can often deliver gamey, tannic wines with earthy overtones… not the case here in our debut 2007 J. Lohr Gesture Mourvèdre. Immediately after pressing, this wine offered such nice black fruit aromatics of berry and cherry and wonderfully voluminous, yet velvety mid-palate weight that we decided to release it as a varietal offering to complement pan-seared pepper steak with mushrooms.