2020 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
Wine Enthusiast, December 2022
The 2020 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot displays varietal aromas of black plum, black currant, and violet along with a light barrel signature of baking spices and toasted pastry. Malbec in the blend contributes notes of pomegranate and hibiscus flower and brings juiciness to the palate, while Cabernet Franc adds layers of cocoa and peppery spice. The mouth-watering palate transitions to a lingering black cherry finish.
— Brenden Wood, red winemaker & Steve Peck, vice president of winemaking
Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA
Bright fruit flavors with supple tannins upon release, but will evolve pleasingly over the next 5 to 7 years7 Years
This versatile wine pairs well with grilled sausage, vegetable shish kebob, or a dish of creamy spinach and tomato tortellini.
Fermentation: Whole-berry fermentation in stainless steel tanks
Maturation: 12 months in barrel with 15% new oak
Barrel Type: American oak, primarily medium 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.
Overall, precipitation for the 2020 season in Paso Robles was on par with its 25-year historical average. Springtime enjoyed temperate daytime temperatures which allowed vines to have good flower bloom and canopy growth. Fruit set was modest, after two previous years with above average crop loads. The healthy canopies allowed the vines to withstand late summer heatwaves with little desiccation. We commenced our first Merlot pick on September 24th to capture fresh plum and bright raspberry flavors. Generous additions of Malbec and Cabernet Franc add juiciness to the palate and aromatic sophistication.
We grow our Merlot grapes in the moderately cool El Pomar District of Paso Robles, which is 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 mediums limit vine vigor and support wine quality. 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 the variations in soil, add complexity to our Los Osos release, as does the introduction of Italian clones of Merlot.