2017 J. Lohr Vineyard Series October Night Chardonnay
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The SOMM Journal, August/September 2020
- Aromas of orange peel, lemon custard, and vanilla introduce this extroverted white. Within an array of floral tones, toasted coconut merges with lemon tart. Acidity lifts the flavor profile as honeysuckle and gardenia keep things exotic through the finish.
The 2017 October Night Chardonnay is pale straw yellow in color, with exotic floral aromas of gardenia, tangerine, baked pear, honeysuckle, and baking spices. Traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques, such as weekly stirring of the lees in French oak barrels, were used to complement these aromatics, providing a creamy palate texture. This unique Chardonnay blend provides balanced and complex flavors of ripe citrus, white peaches, and offers a hint of sweet chocolate and toasted oak on the long finish.
— Kristen Barnhisel, winemaker, white wine
Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County, CA
Best enjoyed now through 2021.5 Years
This wine is the perfect pairing to eggs benedict, crab cakes with creamy orange reduction sauce, cedar plank salmon, or almond-crusted halibut.
The 2017 vintage was characterized by a cool spring, followed by a moderate summer with foggy mornings in the Arroyo Seco. September began with some warmer weather to fully ripen the Chardonnay and, along with our typical winds, extended the growing season by three weeks. We continued working with a French viticultural consultant on Chardonnay irrigation in the Arroyo Seco. Moving to more “rainfall-like” - 24 to 36 hour - infrequent irrigation events in the spring, with a six to eight week “dry-down” between berry set and veraison, has helped increase aroma intensity and concentration of flavors. Each year, we work together to fine-tune the irrigation decisions during the growing season to optimize the fruit potential. Our 2017 harvest of Clone 809 Chardonnay (the backbone of our October Night Chardonnay) occurred on October 20th at 25.8° Brix.
The vineyards for the October Night Chardonnay lie in J. Lohr’s Block 9 plantings in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County. Planted near the mouth of the Arroyo Seco River, this terrain provides the vines a slightly more wind-protected environment in which to grow. Comprised largely of Dijon Clone 809 Chardonnay - known in some circles as the Musqué Clone - these vines produce a very distinctive, attractive, and powerful floral character. The soil is laden throughout its loamy profile with “Greenfield potatoes,” stones that resemble potatoes in size and appearance and which absorb the sun’s warmth during the day and then radiate their heat after sunset, enhancing the floral character and richness.