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  • Just In: Latest Accolades and Reviews

    Signature Beauty

    J. Lohr continues to get more than its share of rave reviews and press coverage. Congratulations to our stellar vineyards and winemaking teams for these great mentions!

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    October 1, 2018

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    "Wine Industry Leaders 2018"
    Hall of Fame
    Jerry Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

    For advocacy of industry research
    "Jerry Lohr’s work on behalf of the entire wine industry has included posts as director and chair of the Wine Institute and chair of the Monterey Winegrowers Council. He was one of the four founding members of Wine Vision, an industry group that promoted a long-range view of the wine industry. Lohr founded the National Grape and Wine Initiative, representing grape growers, processors, wineries and academic institutions committed to improving the industry.”
    Wine Business Monthly, October 2018

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    2015 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
    98 Points, Award of Excellence
    “Further proof that Paso Robles has the ability to craft some of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons, this is the third vintage of this wine. It’s a tribute to founder Jerry Lohr from esteemed blocks of Clone 337 in the high-elevation calcareous soils of the Beck Vineyard, located in the region’s Creston District. Blended with 11% Malbec and aged for 18 months in French oak, it was then transferred to a new set of barrels for a ‘flash’ of two months to accentuate its ageworthiness. Rich, ripe plum accents the aromas and leads to a seamless palate of dry, dusty tannins and Old World acidity. Coffee bean and dark chocolate intertwine with dark summer berries and spiced tobacco. It’s a teeth gripper ‘til the end.”
    Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, July 2018

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    2015 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
    95 Points, Top Cellar Selections of 2018
    “The nose on this luxury-level bottling is pure and refreshing, offering aromas of black cherry, loamy soil, dried mint and caramellaced coffee. The palate is framed by upright tannins, yet is soft enough to enjoy now, showing deep flavors of black currant, dried herb, milk chocolate and toffee. Drink 2020–2040. Cellar Selection.”
    Matt Kettmann, Wine Enthusiast, December 2018

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    August 6, 2018

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    J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

    “One of the biggest growers in the Central Coast, the Lohr family farms more than 3,600 acres of vines in Monterey County and Paso Robles. The latter vineyards are the primary source for this finely made, incredibly reliable red. It hews to a crowd-pleasing style, with sweet American oak accents and plenty of aromatic, juicy cherry fruit.”
    Ray Isle, Food & Wine, MSN, “50 Affordable Wines You Can Always Trust”

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    J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

    “The tasting room is relaxed and inviting; it feels like you are entering the home of a close family member. All of the people working there were great and loved helping us learn more about the wine and about how it was still a family run business even though it is one of the largest wineries in the area. I also found the wines to be quite good, especially the Cabernet and the Chardonnay (not even wine I typically like but great here) and Amie and I took home four bottles.

    After tasting, we grabbed a half glass and went out to sit by the vineyard and end our road trip in a relaxing way. If you are in Southern California then definitely take this trip as it is full of historic and fun spots and ends with some fantastic wine. If you are not from California, then you can enter for a chance to win a trip to visit J. Lohr in Paso Robles and Monterey on their Instagram.”
    Josh McNair, California Through My Lens

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    “Great Whites (and we're not talking Shark Week)
    Lohr Focuses On Cool-Climate White Wines

    “Unlike many California winemakers, Kristen Barnhisel doesn’t worry much about acidity. ‘In Monterey’s cool-climate Arroyo Seco region, we have plenty of acidity every vintage; building texture into our wines is what I’m focused on,’ says Barnhisel, the white wine winemaker for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.

    Working with Jeff Meier, J. Lohr’s President and longtime Director of Winemaking, Barnhisel works solely on crafting the estate’s white wines, a position that founder Jerry Lohr has always emphasized. ‘Jerry has always known that this kind of focus is what is required to achieve the kind of quality we are looking for,’ Barnhisel explains.

    Although most famous for robust Paso Robles Cabernets like the iconic Hilltop and the much-loved Seven Oaks, J. Lohr began in Monterey in 1972. Recently, the winery has been quietly increasing their focus on white wine production with new plantings, experimental clonal selections and innovative winemaking techniques. Their commitment to whites has paid off in a growing line-up that ranges from Rhône-style blends to Burgundian-inspired Chardonnays, with Rieslings and Sauvignon Blancs in between.

    Arroyo Seco Visionary

    ‘Jerry first planted Chardonnay in Arroyo Seco over 45 years ago,’ says Barnhisel. ‘He’d spent a decade searching for the ideal place to plant his first vines, and saw the potential for cool-climate varieties here.’ His pioneering hunch proved correct; thanks to the chilly breezes off nearby Monterey Bay, well-drained soils and intense fog, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes yield intense minerality, bright acidity and layers of flavor. Other vintners soon caught on, and the Arroyo Seco AVA was officially established in 1983.

    Those original 280 vineyard acres have long been responsible for J. Lohr’s most famous and best-selling white, the Riverstone Chardonnay (almost 500,000 cases today), and have over time been expanded upon in size and scope to include small-volume, clone-focused wines. There are now nine different Chardonnay clones here, as well as more recent plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, which also thrives in the rugged coastal climate. ‘The valley pulls wind down the valley which shuts down the vines and gives us a longer growing season and fruit with greater complexity,’ explains Barnhisel.

    The region’s longer growing season is particularly evident in J. Lohr’s October Night Chardonnay, a richly layered and beautifully balanced wine named for the time of year and day when it is harvested. ‘All grapes for this wine are hand-picked and hand-sorted in the vineyard at nighttime so the grapes maintain maximum freshness,’ Barnhisel describes. A sister wine, the Arroyo Vista, shows a very different side of Chardonnay—more high-toned elegance—reflecting the diversity of soil and clone types.

    New White Winery, New White Grapes

    Jerry Lohr’s dream of having a winery dedicated to white wine production in the Arroyo Seco came true in 2015 when J. Lohr opened their 100,000-square-foot Greenfield winery adjacent to their vineyards. ‘The ability to process the grapes immediately has been incredible,’ says Barnhisel. ‘You can taste the difference in the freshness of the grapes. With less travel time and less oxygen exposure, we have better phenolics, mouthfeel and texture.’

    Barnhisel also applies her white wine expertise in Paso Robles, where J. Lohr planted Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc at the Gean Vineyard in 2010. Located in the Adelaida District, it’s the western-most vineyard in Paso Robles and is atypically cool for the AVA, a result of its coastal proximity. ‘It’s really winemaking on the edge here—2017 was the first year it didn’t frost,’ says Barnhisel.

    The winemaking team is working with Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet here, and the Rhône whites are proving ideally suited to the day/night temperature swing and calcareous shale soils. The only downside: small acreage. Cynthia Lohr, Co-owner/Trade and Brand Advocate, notes that the Gesture tier—including a lush, ripe Viognier and RVG (Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc) blend—was originally only for club members and visitors. ‘Interest in these wines has exploded in recent years,’ she notes, prompting their public, if limited, release. ‘Kristen’s deft touch with these wines speaks to both her connection to the vineyards and to the grapes.’

    There is room for expansion in Arroyo Seco, where new vineyard blocks are almost ready to utilize and the team plans to plant additional new clones of Riesling. Though the region has been the spiritual home of this family-owned winery for nearly five decades, there is still so much to discover here, maintains Barnhisel: ‘It’s incredibly rewarding to find that perfect place where fruit flavors, aromatics, alcohol, acidity, texture and palate length all come into perfect balance,’ she explains. ‘I’m always looking to achieve greater, richer texture and longer finish in these wines and that’s a journey that never really ends.’”

    2016 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay
    “J. Lohr’s flagship white has been upgraded in recent years. Blended from over 90 individual lots, it’s 100% barrel-fermented for up to 9 months; lots of lees stirring imparts a lovely texture.”

    2016 J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay
    “Clone 809 is used for this small-production Chardonnay, aged 10 months in 45% new French oak. Pronounced aromas of gardenia, Meyer lemon and citrus peel; great balance and vibrant acidity.”

    2016 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay
    “Where October Night is round and rich, Arroyo Vista is restrained and elegant. Made from clone 76 and decidedly Burgundian in style, it shows lemon peel, smoke, briny acidity and notes of brioche.”

    2016 J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling
    “This blend of two clones shows what Arroyo Seco can do for Riesling. Aromas span citrus, lemongrass and minerals; the textured palate features bright acidity, stone and tree fruit, and a long finish.”

    Kristen Bieler, Beverage Journal

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    April 25, 2018

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    J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

    "Most Popular Cabernet Sauvignons"
    Annual Restaurant Poll, Wine & Spirits

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    2016 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié

    92 Points
    "Easily one of the best ten dollar bottles of wine available today. Every time I taste it I wonder why there aren’t more domestic producers of this variety. It’s bright and fresh, with cherry and spicy raspberry flavors delivered and lingering long. Great on its own or with chicken or turkey. Love it! A Platinum Award Winner at the 2018 Monterey International Wine Competition."
    Rich Cook, Wine Review Online

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    2016 J. Lohr Estates Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir

    91 Points
    Meridith May, The Tasting Panel

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    2014 J. Lohr Cuvée St. E

    91 Points
    Nick Ponomareff, California Grapevine

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    2015 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

    91 Points
    Nick Ponomareff, California Grapevine

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    January 3, 2018

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    2014 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon

    96 Points, “Cellar Selection”

    “The second vintage release of J. Lohr’s Signature wine, first produced to commemorate founder Jerry Lohr’s 80th birthday. Rich aromas of stewed black plum, blackberry pie, vanilla, clove and prune cake show on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich overall, but with firm tannins in the background that lend structure to the strawberry and blackberry flavors, graced by hints of wood smoke, peppercorn and licorice. Drink now through 2029.”

    Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Feb. 2018 issue

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    2014 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon

    Grand Champion, Best of Show. Top All-Around Winery.
    Houston International Wine Competition

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    2014 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon

    “The Top 40 Wines of 2017”

    Robert Whitley, Creators.com

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    2013 J. Lohr Cuvée St. E

    92 Points
    “This is a bountiful California wine inspired by the treasured reds of St. Emilion. Richly colored, it is both muscular and fleshy, delivering mouthfilling flavors of red and black fruits. Snappy tannins help carry the plush texture along to a big, long finish. Lohr’s Cuvée St. E emphasizes Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. “

    Marguerite Thomas, Wine Reviews Online

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    2016 J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir
    Gold Medal, Class Champion
    Houston International Wine Competition

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    2016 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié
    Double Gold Medal, Best of Class, Best of Monterey AVA
    2017 Harvest Challenge Competition

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    2016 J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay
    Gold Medal, Best of Class, Best of Central Coast
    2017 Harvest Challenge Competition

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    November 14, 2017

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    2014 J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah
    91 Points, “Top 100 Best Buys of 2017”
    “This bottling offers gingerbread cake, baked blueberry and smoked pork on the nose. It's soft on the palate, with finely polished tannins imparting a plush texture. Black plum, strawberry and a touch of mint mark the palate. The structure shows itself just enough on the finish.”
    Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Nov. 2017 issue

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    2013 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay
    91 Points
    “The 2013 Chardonnay Arroyo Vista is still drinking beautifully and offers a ripe, sexy style in its buttered citrus oil, honeysuckle. brioche and lime aromatics. Juicy, medium-bodied, fresh and layered, it’s an impressive Chardonnay that should continue to evolve gracefully going forward.”
    JebDunnuck.com, Oct. 31, 2017

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    2014 J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
    93 Points
    “Nicely balanced and styled for near term drinking enjoyment as well as having the potential for further development with bottle aging. Very highly recommended.”
    California Grapevine, Oct. 2017 issue

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    2013 J. Lohr Cuvée St. E
    “Wonderful Wines: Favorite Wines of 2017”
    “J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines’ homage to the famed Bordeaux region of Saint-Émilion, this highly acclaimed blend (98 Points, Double Gold/Best of Class of Region, Cal State Fair; Gold Medal Sunset; Double Gold SF Chronicle; 94 Points Wine Enthusiast) is Cabernet Franc dominant, giving it a heady nose of caramel walnut fudge, dark spiced plum and pure cassis. Tannins are prominent but plush, and it’s super easy to fall in love with its blackberry cobbler and chocolatey lushness.”
    Los Gatos Magazine, Laura Ness, Winter 2017 issue

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    2015 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
    “5 Ways to Pair J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot with Food”
    Food Republic, Caroline Russock, Oct. 26, 2017

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    2014 J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
    95 Points, Platinum
    Sommelier Challenge International


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