2009 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2009 winegrowing season in Paso Robles is best characterized as being warmer and dryer than average. Cabernet Sauvignon does well in dry years and 2009 was no exception. Winter rainfall was well below normal for the third year in a row, recording just half of the 12 inch annual average at our Home Ranch weather station. Cold temperatures in April limited vine growth in the first month after budbreak, but was followed by a warmer May with a one day spike reaching 104°F just after bloom. The added heat units helped to establish the leaf canopy necessary to ripen this Hilltop Cabernet just in time, as an unlikely rain event on October 13th delivered between 2.5 and 11 inches of rain to the region in a single day. This 2009 Hilltop shows significant tannin structure, and the regional expression of black currant, black cherry and chocolate are evident.

Our Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on a handful of select vineyard sites in the Paso Robles AVA. Blessed with long days of intense sunshine, near 100°F temperatures, and chilly, ocean-cooled nights where fifty-degree temperature swings are not uncommon, our Cabernet vines struggle to survive in the parched, often very gravelly, and sometimes lime shale-laden soils. Water is at a premium in these vineyards, enabling the viticulturist to fine-tune irrigation, producing the darkest fruit with resolved tannins year after year.


Appellation: Paso Robles AVA,
San Luis Obispo County
Composition 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petite Sirah, 3% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cab Franc
Harvest Dates: September 25th to October 7th, 2009
Process: Pellenc Select Pick and Broad machine harvest
Harvest Chemistries: 27° Brix, 3.7 pH, total acidity 0.52 g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast: Fermicru VR5 and Lallemand 43
Fermentation:  Primary fermentation in
stainless steel tanks
Temperature: Peak fermentation at 92°F
Maceration: 6 to 10 days
Malo-Lactic: Malolatic complete with Viniflora Oenos
Maturation: 18 months in 225 liter French oak barrels
Barrel Type: French oak, thin stave "Chateau Ferré"
Forest: Center of France, Allier
Coopers: Demptos, Marcel Cadet, Sylvain
Post-Maturation: 10 months bottle age prior to
Bottling Numbers: pH: 3.73
Total Acidity: 0.68 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.67 % by vol
Residual Sugar: Dry
Cases Produced: 8,300
Cellaring: Delicious upon release, but has the structure to age for up to 10 to 12 years.

The 2009 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is darkly-colored with a red-purple hue. Ripe fruit aromas of black plum and raspberry meld with a bouquet of chocolate and hazelnut from 18 months maturation in French oak barrels. The rich tannin structure of this wine activates the palate and welcomes enjoyment with rich cuisine.
-Steve Peck, Red Winemaker

Wonderful with grilled lamb or herbed beef filet.

Ripe fruit aromas of black plum and raspberry meld with a bouquet of chocolate and hazelnut.