2011 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot

VINTAGE
Cool weather prevailed in 2011, much like the 2010 season, which was the coolest in a decade. Low yielding secondary shoots grew to replace frost damaged primary shoots after a defining hard frost hit the area on April 8th. Winter rainfall had provided sufficient soil moisture for rapid springtime growth of the vines after the setback of the early frost. Fewer clusters with larger berries was the norm, pushing toward a softer tannin profile in the wines. We employed our standard practice of ceasing irrigation after fruitset in early June and waiting 8 weeks or more until vines began to run out of soil moisture before resuming irrigation in August. We saw seeds turn hard and brown, while flavor in the berries shifted from herbal to fruity as a result of this water stress exercise. The inclusion of 11% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot provides a hint of hibiscus and banana peel to the blend. This 2011 Los Osos Merlot reflects a union of these primary fruit and floral characters with crafted oak flavors from a full year of barrel aging at the winery.


VINEYARDS
Traditionally, we harvest our estate-grown Merlot grapes across a range of sugar ripeness. The early picks usually capture the classic varietal definition of Merlot, while the fruit harvested later adds depth and intensity to the wine. Clone and rootstock combinations, along with variations in soil, add complexity to our Los Osos Merlot, as does the introduction of recently planted Italian clones. We grow our Merlot grapes in Nacimiento-Los Osos, Arbuckle-San Ysidro, and Arbuckle- Positas complex soils in our vineyards in Paso Robles, where these welldrained but relatively poor soils have chalky or gravelly components.


TECHNICAL DATA

Apellation: Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, California
Composition: 84% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot
Harvest Dates:  September 27th - October 12th, 2011
Brix at Harvest: 24.8° Brix avg
Vinification:  
  Fermentation: Whole-berry fermentation in stainless steel tanks
  Malolactic: 100%
  Maturation: 12 months in barrel with 22% new oak
  Barrel type: American oak from Missouri forests, medium-plus toast with toasted heads
Bottling Chemistries:
  pH: 3.71
  Total Acidity: 0.65 g/100ml
  Alcohol: 13.94% by volume
  Residual Sugar: 0.12 g/100ml
  Cellaring: Showing well upon release, with the potential to age up to five years

WINEMAKER'S COMMENTS
The 2011 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot presents a mature red color with a raspberry hue. Savory fruit aromas of black plum and pomegranate are integrated with a barrel signature of cocoa and cedar. Our winemaking style and use of Malbec as a blender accentuates the brighter fruit tones of Merlot and leaves ripe, soft tannin on the palate.
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker

FOOD PAIRINGS
An excellent pairing for cheese tortellini or herb-roasted chicken.

WINE LIST DESCRIPTION
Savory fruit aromas of plum and pomegranate integrated with a barrel signature of cocoa and cedar.

Price: $15.00 750ml

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