2011 J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay

It has become a consistent vintage trend in the last decade that weather tends to come in pairs. In other words, we usually have back to back vintages in Monterey County with similar characteristics. 2011 was another very cool vintage akin to 2010 with a slightly colder winter and early spring. Although the heat summation days in 2011 were greater by a mere 43 (2089 in 2011 versus 2046 in 2010), the vintage was actually even colder and later. Additionally, the cool spring and cold, cloudy weather adversely impacted set in 2011 and resulted in a twenty percent reduction in yields. This proved beneficial, however, as the lighter crop hastened ripening in this challengingly cool year. We have two blocks of Clone 809 Chardonnay, but over the last two vintages we have focused our October Night production on our oldest planting (2001), a 5.5 acre block in the southwest corner of the vineyard. It is the most wind-protected area of the vineyard and the flavors are the most distinctive. Despite the challenges of 2011, ripeness did finally come on October 19th at 24.5° Brix, 0.80 g/100ml of acidity and a soft 3.45 pH.

The vineyards for the October Night Chardonnay lie among J. Lohr’s Block 9 plantings in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County, near the mouth of the Arroyo Seco river, which provides the vines a slightly more windprotected 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 absorb heat during the day. They then radiate their heat after sunset, enhancing floral character and richness.


Origin: Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Harvest Date: October 19, 2011
Process: Hand-harvested at night into bins, whole cluster pressed to 1.0 bar and cold settled
Harvest Chemistries: 24.5° Brix, pH 3.45, 0.80 g/100ml total acidity
Vinification: Yeast:  native
Fermentation:  In barrel for an average of 14 days
Malolactic: Inoculated each barrel with Christian Hansen Vinaflora Oenos strain of malolactic bacteria on November 7, 2011. Arrested malolactic fermentation on Dec 12, 2011 with 1.4 g/L malic acid
Stirring:  Stirred each barrel weekly starting November 7, 2011 until September 1, 2012
Post-Stirring: Topped up barrels and monitored free sulfur dioxide and oxygen
Maturation:  Aged in barrel sur lie for 12 months in 45% new oak
Barrel Type: French oak
Forests: Troncais
Coopers: Francois Fréres
Bottling Numbers: PH: 3.58
Total Acidity: 0.66g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.2% by volume
Residual Sugar: 0.35g/100ml
Cases Produced: 1,693
Cellaring: Enjoy now, or cellar for up to 5 years

The 2011 October Night Chardonnay has a bright, youthful straw yellow color, and floral aromas with lemon curd, beeswax, and toasty vanilla. The winemaking techniques, used to enhance the spicy and exotic nature of this Chardonnay, included barrel fermentation in largely one-year-old French oak barrels in the coldest corner of our barrel room, followed by malolactic fermentation with lees stirring. This all contributed to a very attractive and complex bouquet with a soft, rich and seamless texture.
Jeff Meier, Winemaker

This wine is perfect with roasted pork loin and pumpkin ravioli.

Floral aromas with lemon curd, beeswax and toasty vanilla. A wonderfully complex wine with layers of varietal character.

Price: $25.00 750ml