2018 J. Lohr Home Ranch Cabernet Franc
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Wine Enthusiast, August/September 2021
The 2018 J. Lohr Home Ranch Cabernet Franc was grown on the hillside across the street from our J. Lohr Wine Center in the Estrella district of Paso Robles. This vineyard parcel continuously delivers Cabernet Franc of astonishing complexity, richness, and nuanced varietal character. Initial aromas of hazelnut, blueberry and fresh- brewed espresso evolve into secondary aromas of blackberry, black tea and dried herbes de provence. The palate is pleasantly pure and mouthwatering with polished, sleek tannins and a long mineral finish.
— Brenden Wood, red winemaker and Steve Peck, director of winemaking
Estrella District, Paso Robles, CA
Will show wonderfully for the next 10 to 15 years.15 Years
Will prove a perfect match to grilled lamb preparations or a roasted beet salad.
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Our Cabernet Franc was grown on the J. Lohr Home Ranch in the warmer Region III Estrella District of Paso Robles. The block was laid out to an east-west row orientation in 2007 at planting, with clone 327 grafted to low-vigor 420A rootstock. The vines are trained to a bilateral cordon and spur pruned, thinning to two shoots per spur annually. The soil is low water-holding, fine loamy Nacimiento - Los Osos complex. Cabernet Franc is an upright-growing variety that is very drought tolerant. Our farming plan includes removing leaves from the fruit zone on the north side of the vine in June, and reducing the crop to one cluster per shoot in late July. This practice assures small, concentrated berries that lead to a luxury level of flavor and color intensity. The J. Lohr viticulture team's expertise in managing vine water stress is key to developing the rich, chocolatey character of this wine, with just a touch of varietal mint.
Thanks to a "Miracle March," the 2018 Paso Robles growing season reached normal rainfall levels with over 70% of the season's precipitation accumulated in a 3-week period. This kicked off a rare vintage of exceptional quality and yield. A stretch of warm weather in May assured a good fruit set in the vineyard, and was followed by an unprecedented 46-day heat spell which began in early July. This effectively delayed ripening as the vines conserved moisture in lieu of opening up to photosynthesize. Meticulously farmed by J. Lohr Home Ranch vineyard manager John Pierini and his team, this Cabernet Franc was hand-picked on October 24th and made in our small-lot winery in Paso Robles. The fruit was sorted and fermented in a small open-top tank with délestage during peak fermentation to maximize extraction. For decades Cabernet Franc from our Home Ranch has been one of our best kept secrets, being utilized as a component in a number of our top blends. It is a real thrill to produce this single varietal, limited release bottling.