Wine Reviews

Welcome to our wine reviews page. Use the fields below to easily search for scores, medals and reviews of our wines.


J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"J. Lohr Vineyard and Wines" "J. Lohr Vineyard & Wines is one of the most known wineries in the Bay Area and elsewhere. It’s also one of the largest. Started by Jerry Lohr in the ’70s in San Jose—when he planted his first 280 acres of varietal grapes—the business has grown to include more than 900 acres of cool-climate estate vineyards in Monterey County, producing Chardonnay, Riesling, Valdiguie and Pinot Noir, to around 2,000 acres in Paso Robles focusing on Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and other red varietals. Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown on another 33 acres in Napa. With this in mind, my husband and I head to Jacks Restaurant in the Portola Hotel & Spa in the center of Monterey for a special 'Growers Dinner'—a magnificent event of food and wine pairing showcasing the culinary arts of Executive Chef Jason Giles and the splendid wines of J. Lohr. Jacks serves only the freshest local produce, meats and seafood that Monterey County and Central California have to offer—particularly featuring Swank Farms in Hollister; AA SportFishing & Tours for reeling in the very best fish; Harris Ranch beef; and Cowgirl Creamery for dairy produce. We had five amazing courses that evening, each one paired with J. Lohr wine. Dinner guests were hard pressed to select from imaginative starters such as Hog Farm Asparagus and Glaum Ranch Poached Duck Egg with shaved Parmesan cheese and tarragon cream; and entrees such as Line-Caught California White Sea Bass with lemon-thyme risotto, sauteed beet greens and grilled citrus-tomato vinaigrette—or Slow-Roasted Harris Ranch Tenderloin of Beef with organic Swank Farm cauliflower puree, roasted parsnips, sauteed spinach and a Cabernet demi-glace. Dessert was a Trio of Treats, including meyer lemon madeleine cookies with organic berry compote, a truly decadent treat, indeed. The care that J. Lohr takes in producing their quality wines of sustainably farmed fruit certainly shows. I particularly loved the Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Oaks, Paso Robles, with its abundance of dark fruit, spicy clove and toasty notes. But two wines from Monterey-grown grapes really stood out for me, a Riesling, Bay Mist Vineyard, with an almost buttercup-yellow color and an abundance of aromas of apricot, pear and apple; and a Valdiguie, Wildflower Vineyard, a vibrant purple-red beauty with intense boysenberry, cherry, cranberry and banana aromas. Service, cuisine and presentation are simply superb at Jacks. The next time we go there for dinner, we’re staying overnight in the Portola Hotel."

Good Times
Josie Cowden

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"California's New World" "Steve Lohr, executive vice president and COO of vineyards at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, says his farm isn't offering significant discounts, but competitors are, particularly in the on-premise. 'A log of the more iconic brands aren't discounting as much in the retail sector as they are in the on-premise,' Lohr says. 'There's a lot of "if you buy a case of this, we'll give you a case of this for free" going on. That way the retail price doesn't go down and the restaurateur can afford to offer wine for a better price. Or if it's a very strong restaurant that can command the higher price, they can just pocket the difference."

Market Watch
Carol Ward

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"Some Premium Wines Resist Downturn" "Established wineries with well-known brands and 'modest pricing' are gaining market share 'and some are flying,' she said, including Trinchero, Rodney Strong, Charles Krug and J. Lohr, all of which are doing well with wines priced under $30."

SF Business Times
Chris Rauber

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"Water is the New Energy" "Smart water management can lead to both cost savings and energy savings. Jeff Zucker, safety and environmental coordinator at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, has been working to ensure the 800,000-case Paso Robles, CA facility makes the most out of every gallon of water"

Practical Winery & Vineyard
Tina Vierra

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"Winery of the Month" “WINERY OF THE MONTH: J. LOHR VINEYARDS & WINES” “In the late 1960’s, Jerry Lohr began an extensive investigation of grape growing regions throughout California. As a result of his farming background, he has always understood and respected the importance of soil quality, climate and location, which led him to California’s Central Coast region. In 1972 and 1973, he planted 280 acres of wine grapes in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County, and in 1974 completed his winery in San Jose. In 1988 property near Paso Robles was purchased, now encompassing 2,000 acres of vineyards, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other red varietals, and an adjacent winery and barrel facility was built. Also in 1988, Jerry began expansion of his vineyards in the Arroyo Seco, which now includes 900 acres of Chardonnay and other cool climate varietals such as Riesling Valdiguie and in recent years Pinot Noir. By the late 1970’s, J. Lohr wines were distributed throughout the United States, and in the late 1980’s an international sales department was added. Today the J. Lohr products are available throughout the United States and in more than 25 countries worldwide. The goal of J. Lohr brands is to produce varietals that can compete with the finest in the world, using a style that focuses on flavor and complexity through vineyard selection, technology and innovation. This goal has led Jerry Lohr and his team to develop three tiers of wines produced from estate vineyards – J. Lohr Cuvee Series, J. Lohr Vineyard Series and J. Lohr Estates. In addition J. Lohr Winery produces three tiers of wines to meet the needs of everyday and entry-level wine consumption - Cypress Vineyards and Painter Bridge. J. LOHR Cuvee Series -- very limited, produced only from extraordinary-quality vintages--artistic winemaking similar to Grand Cru Chateaux from Pauillac, St. Emilion and Pomerol in Bordeaux. Cuvee PAU blends a minimum 50% cabernet sauvignon with merlot, cabernet franc, petite verdot and malbec grapes. Cuvee St. E is over 50% Cabernet Franc blended with merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petite verdot. And Cuvee POM is over 50% Merlot blended with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petite verdot. These wines compete with the most expensive wines produced in Bordeaux and California. We have positioned the Cuvee Series as our 'artistic expression of flavor'. J. LOHR Vineyard Series -- limited production with utmost quality, Vineyard Series is J. Lohr’s luxury wine category. Arroyo Vista Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County produces J. Lohr’s most intensely scented, complex Chardonnay. HILLTOP Cabernet--on the highest, best-drained slope in J. Lohr’s Paso Robles holdings, produces the most potent, dark fruit wine with power and great style. Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown north of St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. The gravelly loam soils of Carol's Vineyard offer truly superb growing conditions for these two traditional grape varieties. J. LOHR ESTATES -- a line of estate-produced varietals of extraordinary quality, from J. Lohr’s home vineyards in Monterey County and Paso Robles. J. LOHR controls all aspects from viticulture to winemaking to bottling to ensure 'flavor second to none.' J. Lohr Estates includes the Riverstone Chardonnay, Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, South Ridge Syrah, Bay Mist White Riesling, Wildflower Valdiguie, Los Osos Merlot and Old Vines Zinfandel."

The Sarah English Newsletter
Sarah Jane English

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

"Hidden Values: California's Central Coast Offers Plenty of Choice" "The middle region produces similar varietals: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir dominate but Riesling is a top white. Producers like…J. Lohr are some of the most established wineries."

Beverage Journal
Laura Holmes Haddad

2007 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

"Keeping Your Cool" "If there's one thing that makes me cranky at a restaurant, it's being served a bottle of warm red wine. It happens all the time, even at places where the staff should know better. The interior of a bustling restaurant is nearly 80 degrees, and if the bottle hasn't been stored in a temperature-controlled environment, the wine will be way too hot to enjoy. When that happens, I always ask for an ice bucket and chill that puppy down to the right temp—between 55 and 65 degrees. When a red is too warm (I find this happens more with reds than with whites), the tannins and alcohol come leaping out at you, obscuring the fruit and finesse the winemakers are trying to seduce you with. Do you want to pay good money (at least two or three times as expensive on a wine list) for a nice wine like J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2007 and have the wrong serving temperature obscure the delightful berry goodness, courtesy of California's sunny Central Coast? I didn't think so. Incorrect temperature is the most frequently made serving mistake, but—hallelujah, praise Bacchus—it's also the easiest to fix. And no, you don't need to carry a thermometer around at all times. You can guesstimate. (For those of you who do want to geek out, the new infrared thermometers are mighty handy, because they can read the temperature just by being held close to the wine. It's neat and clean.) A bottle of red should go in the refrigerator up to an hour before serving. Other wine experts will recommend that a half hour is fine, but personal experience tells me that 30 minutes is not quite long enough. The red wine is going to warm up in your glass, especially if you like to linger over the wine or want to give it some air (look for my thoughts on decanting in the near future). The beguiling spice notes in the Grande Dalles Home Place 2008, a largely Tempranillo blend from Oregon, deserve the chance to be appreciated properly. If served too warm, those spicy notes will seem thick and heavy, applied with a housepainter's tool instead of a delicate watercolor brush. White wines usually fall into the opposite camp. When you go to someone's house for dinner, that white you're often poured comes straight from the fridge and checks in at about 38 degrees. That's a little too cold, and results in a muting of all the flavors. Aim for a serving temperature somewhere in the 45- to 55-degree range for whites, depending on complexity. Generally speaking, the more complex the wine, the warmer it can be served. So, take it out of the refrigerator a half hour before serving. For Château Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc 2009, a pleasant white from an often-overlooked Bordeaux value zone, the cooler side is fine, as simple refreshment is the main goal here (serve roses that way, too). But for a Grand Cru treasure like Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Blanchots Reserve de l'Obediance 2009, I'd say 55 degrees is about right. This is a wine of layers and complexity that you just can't appreciate at an Arctic temperature (it's also too soon to drink this one, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have an idea about how to serve it in the future). At least with whites, you know that time is on your side: If they're too cold at the start, they're only going to get closer to the mark with some time. For sparkling and a wide range of sweet wines, keep the temperature in the same zone as you do for whites. Royal Tokaji Red Label 2006 ($40), which might be the best-value sweet wine out there right now, is a Hungarian beauty that shows off very rich prune, raisin, cinnamon, and apricot flavors. Serve it too warm and the fruity sugars overwhelm you, but at 55 degrees or so, everything's in perfect balance, the acidity providing a frame around the sweet picture inside. Adami Prosecco Bosco di Gica ($18), which tastes like a refreshing green grape and green melon granita, shows best when it's a touch cooler. Bring it down to a brisk 45 degrees. This sparkler would be perfect for opening at a graduation party this time of year, and nothing would better show that you've graduated from Wine Basics than to serve it at exactly the right temperature."
Ted Loos

2007 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

Pacific Rim Wine Competition (National Orange Show)

Gold / Best of Class

2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié

"An Easter Wine Lineup" "Easter is fast approaching and, at our residence, ham is the tradition. When it comes to red wines, the leader of the pack is (you guessed it) J. Lohr Valdiguie. No ifs, ands or buts about it, given that this wine is batting a thousand over five vintages...The final contestant was the J. Lohr Valiguie, which has lots of positive history but was being included to assess its development in bottle. I had already taken a peek at the first sample a couple of weeks earlier with pan-fried salmon and lamb; promising but too angular and young. On the next day it benefited from overnight aeration and just pulled off white bean soup and Earthbound Farm Caesar salad; still too young to recommend, though. On this occasion, a fresh bottle elicited the same response; close but not yet delivering the fun food compatibility that defines the wine. I'll let you know when it turns the corner. Have a Happy Easter." "

Monterey County Herald
George Edwards

2007 J. Lohr Cuvée Series POM Red Blend

"Paso and Future" "Paso Robles's time has come, and its sure-to-be shining fate lies in the hands of its talented winemakers." J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines "The Vines: When J. Lohr founder, Jerry Lohr began planting Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles in 1986, he could not have imagined that today the winery would control 2,000 acres of red varieties in Paso (not to mention the vines in Monterey County and Napa) and be known as one of the finest producers of Cabernet Sauvignon in California. The winery's J. Lohr Cuvee series, inspired by Bordelais winemaking in St. Emilion, Pauillac and Pomerol, is a reflection of California terrior at its best, with well-drained gravelly soils and harsh climactic conditions. The Wine: J. Lohr 2007 Cuvee POM is modeled after the blending of Bordeaux varietals in Pomerol, and, according to Executive Vice President Steve Lohr, is 'meant to prepresent the style of how the best chateaux in Bordeaux would blend their wines.' After selecting only the very best of lots of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and other Bordeaux reds, the 2007 Cuvee POM is aged for 21 months in French oak, then rested for at least one year in bottle. Crisp, clear and bright with blueberry, plum, black pepper and a touch of marjoram rounding out medium-soft tannins; bright and fruit-forward."

The Tasting Panel
Rachel Burkons and Meridith May

2007 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

"Cabernet Sauvignon Reigning Red In California" "What most captivates aficionados of cabernet sauvignon, though, is that it is capable of developing enticing layers of complexity. You may encounter an array of nonfruit characteristics, including herb, olive, mint, tobacco, spice, cocoa, cedar, anise and earth. These are best in small accents, not as dominant qualities. Although this complexity comes at a premium and requires a little patience (say five to nine years), the wines below are worth the wait and the price. 2007 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon"

Colorado Springs Gazette
Rich Mauro

2007 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

"J. Lohr Vineyards is making some excellent wine on the Central Coast and its recent releases aim to please. Known for their fruit-forward, jammy style, the red wines pack a wallop of flavor and seem to be made with the consumer's thirst for bold flavors. There isn't a throw-back in the bunch. We thoroughly enjoyed the 2007 J. Lohr Hillltop Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) using six grape varieties from Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County. There is even a little petite sirah in the blend to give the wine its dense color. If you like your petite sirah unblended, Lohr makes a separate version for $35. And, the J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot is a steal at $15."

Annapolis Capitol
Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

2009 J. Lohr Estates Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir

Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

Double Gold

2009 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Fog's Reach Pinot Noir

"Pining For Pinot Noir; A Tasting of More Than 100 Bottlings From Outside Burgundy Yields a Tasty Selection" "Wholly grail. Everyone wants pinot noir. Those who set the table want its come-hither aromas of red fruits and dried leaves stippled with rain, its supple texture and haunting length of flavor, its pliancy with all manner of food. Winemakers want the gauntlet it casts at their feet, the challenges it sets in the vineyard, the winery, the vat — for no greater wine can be made if met. Aesthetes want its mien: Belmondo's sexy, smoky smoothness; Mastroianni's soft shoe polish; Clooney's affable warmth. The Burgundians sate these wants — and then some in certain years. By general agreement, no one else comes close — winedom's most notable bitch slap. Yet we seek elsewhere. We must, because pinot noir from Burgundy, while indisputably, singularly seductive, also costs — often much, too much for many. What we find is not Burgundian pinot noir (we cannot, for the French region of Burgundy is the great place for pinot noir and Burgundy cannot be 're-placed'). But we do find delicious pinot noir, just pinot noir that says 'another place' — from California, New Zealand, Oregon, among others. (Keep an eye out for Mendocino's Anderson Valley. It's becoming a pinot noir showstopper.) These are not Burgundian pinot noir; they are their pinot noirs. Along with many of my friends and students, I set out to find terrific pinot noir from places outside Burgundy. We tasted more than 100 and found these worthies (listed alphabetically)." 2009 Fog's Reach Pinot Noir "Strawberry-rhubarb pie made into wine; touches of earth, sage, smoke; whip-snap, zesty finish."

Chicago Tribune
Bill St. John

2007 J. Lohr Cuvée Series PAU Red Blend

Dallas Morning News and TexSom Wine Competition