2019 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
The Tasting Panel, September/October 2021
Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA
Showing the most fruit upon release, with the potential to improve over the next five years.5 Years
This versatile wine pairs well with grilled sausage and veggie shish kabobs or creamy spinach and tomato tortellini.
Fermentation: Whole-berry fermentation in stainless steel tanks
Maturation: 12 months in barrel with 17% new oak
Barrel Type: American oak from Missouri forests, primarily light and medium-long toast with toasted heads
Rich, Paso Robles Merlot wine with just the right touch of sweet oak and gentle tannins for pairing with anything off the grill.
Rainfall totals were higher than average in 2019. We normally see slightly later budbreak in wet years, which delays the bloom, veraison, and harvest stages for the entire vintages. This worked to our advantage in 2019, as the summer heat spikes had subsided by the time we harvested our first blocks of Merlot on October 10th. Picking continued over a three-week period, ending on October 30th. This late and long harvest allowed us to capture the full range of this variety’s fruit expression while developing deep extractable color and supple, plush tannins. Whole-berry fermentation enhanced bright red-fruit character while simultaneously mitigating extraction of seed tannins.
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 Italian clones of Merlot. We grow our Merlot grapes in the moderately cool El Pomar district of Paso Robles, which is generally acknowledged to be the ideal area for this variety in the Paso Robles AVA. Planted on Nacimiento-Los Osos, Arbuckle-San Ysidro, and Arbuckle-Positas complex soils, these well-drained but relatively poor soils limit vine vigor and support wine quality.