J. Lohr Estates

Raisin Braised Pork Shoulder with Gruyere Potato Gratin

EVP/COO and Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier savored this recipe when J. Lohr participated in an unprecedented competition, the National Pork Board’s Celebrated Chefs Alumni Summit.  This flavorful pork shoulder was the winning recipe from Celebrated Chefs Todd Downs and Robert Merrifield, which Jeff Meier prepared one holiday to the delight of our winery employees.  The winning chefs contributed a $5,000 check made in their name to Sri Lanka Relief Fund for Matara, a tsunami relief fund started by 2003 Celebrated Chef Kumar Wickramasingha, a native of Sri Lanka.  While the recipe uses a bottle of J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot as a base for its braising liquid, it also pairs beautifully with the Merlot-based J. Lohr Cuvée POM.


Pork Shoulder:

  • 2 quarts pork stock
  • 1 bottle J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups commercially prepared raisin paste
  • ½ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2T garlic, chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 ½ lbs pork shoulder, boneless
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil

Virginia Peanut, Peach, Golden Raisin & Mint Relish:

  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup Sherry, warmed
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 1 cup Virginia peanuts, toasted, chopped
  • 2T green onions, sliced
  • ½ T fresh mint, chopped

Gruyere Leek-Potato Gratin:

  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • 5 cups whipping cream
  • 3T garlic, chopped
  • 1t dried mustard
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 1/8 t Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 leek, white and light green sections only, sliced
  • 4 T butter
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

Cremini Mushroom Spinach & Red Onion Sauté:

  • 4 oz bacon, diced
  • 4 oz Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, julienned
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • ½ cup chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine pork stock, merlot, tomatoes, raisin paste, rosemary, garlic, and bay leaf in a stockpot. Simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, cut pork into eight 3-ounce slices. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the pork and brown it well.

Pour liquid mixture over the browned pork in the sauté pan (there will be a lot of liquid). Cover the pork with parchment, and seal the pan with foil. Transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours or until fork-tender.

While the pork is braising, prepare the relish: Steep the raisins in sherry for 30 minutes. Drain, and discard the sherry.

Combine the brown sugar and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peaches and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the drained raisins, chopped peanuts, onion, and mint; mix well. Reserve at room temperature.
When pork is done, remove it from the oven and set it aside until serving time. Increase oven temperature to 400°.

Peel the potatoes and slice 1/8-inch thick. (Do not rinse.) Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, bring cream to a boil. Add the garlic, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper and mix well. Add the sliced potatoes and simmer briskly until tender. Drain cream from potatoes and reserve.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the leeks in butter until tender. Set aside.

In a non-stick baking dish, spread the cooked potatoes in an even layer. Scatter the sautéed leeks evenly over potatoes, and top with the grated cheese. Pour the reserved cream over gratin, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the spinach sauté: Render bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and onions; sauté until tender. Add spinach, cook 1 minute to wilt, and remove from heat.

To Serve:
Place a mound of the spinach mixture in the center of a large plate. Cut the potatoes from the pan using a 3” round cutter. Top spinach with the potato round. Place 2 pieces of pork on the potatoes, and drizzle each plate with 1 ounce of the braising liquid. Top each serving with a generous spoonful of Peanut Relish. Sprinkle with chives. Serve.

Serves 4

2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié

With El Niño conditions firmly in place, we were hit with our first significant harvest-time rain in recent memory on October 13th, 2009 which precipitated the harvest of this beautiful Valdiguié crop on October 22nd. Flavors were concentrated and yields low, following four years of drought in California. Valdiguié is a very large-berried variety requiring extra vigilance from our Greenfield vineyard team to prune to only one bud per spur, and to aggressively thin any extra shoots pushing from the spur area.  Otherwise, our yields get too high and ripening becomes difficult for this late-maturing varietal. In our winemaking, our goal is to preserve Valdiguié’s wonderful natural acidity and fresh fruit flavors. We incorporate two different winemaking techniques to achieve this.  In 2009, we handpicked roughly 15% of the fruit and put those whole clusters directly into the fermenters, in a winemaking process called carbonic maceration – no yeast or pumping over of the fruit is done. The other technique is to gently de-stem and crush the fruit going to the fermenter, pump over and extract with fairly short, warm fermentations. These processes give the wine a remarkable similarity to the wines of Beaujolais, with enticing berry fruit flavors, a vibrant color and soft tannins. Malolactic fermentation is discouraged in order to preserve bright acidity and fruit character.


Our 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié was grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County.  Originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais winegrowing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France.  Regardless of its origin and identity, Valdiguié grown in the windy, cold Arroyo Seco produces a wine reminiscent of the ‘Crus’ of Beaujolais – Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent.




Origin: Wildflower, Monterey County
Composition: 100% Valdiguié
Harvest Date: October 22nd and 23rd, 2009
Brix at Harvest: 22.7° Brix average
Total Acidity: 0.69 g/100 ml
pH at Bottling: 3.31
Alcohol: 12.7% by volume
Residual Sugar: 0.66 g/100 ml
Vinification: Stainless steel fermented
13% Carbonic maceration (whole cluster fermented)
87% Traditional red wine fermentation. Fermentation to 85°F
Bottling Date: December 4th,2009


The 2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié is a vibrant, red-purple in color with bright aromas of boysenberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, yet shows suppleness and body throughout the mid-palate. The luscious fruit finish is dominated by boysenberry and raspberry, making this wine ideal as an aperitif or paired with grilled salmon. Drink your last bottle just in time for the release of the new vintage! Serve chilled.

Steve Peck , red winemaker

Price: $10.00 750ml

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2009 J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling

The 2009 vintage in many ways resembled that of 2008, with the exception that the early blast of heat during flowering gratefully missed the critical set period and yields, and as a result, returned to near normal levels in 2009.   We had two significant heat events in April and May, with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather then immediately returned to cool and foggy in May, June, July, and all but the last weeks of August.  We witnessed Indian Summer temperatures in early September, which provided the final push for the late ripening White Riesling to reach desired maturity, with harvest commencing on the 19th of October at nearly 24° Brix, 3.30 pH and 0.63 grams/100 ml of acidity.   Some early season El Niño rain induced some Botrytis, or Noble rot in the 2009 vintage giving the Riesling an elevated apricot fruit character.

White Riesling
The release of the 2009 marks the thirty-third vintage of White Riesling from our Bay Mist vineyards in Monterey County.  The vines are grown in well drained Chualar and Elder loam soils underlain by stones deposited from the Arroyo Seco, as well as Metz and Arroyo Seco gravelly, sandy loams. The winds of the Salinas Valley extend the growing season, and the fruit retains the natural grape acids.  The pure manifestation of fruit from the vineyards is our primary goal in producing this varietal, employing a combination of cultured yeasts fermented in stainless steel.



Origin: Arroyo Seco, Monterey County
Composition: 94% White Riesling,
5% Gewurztraminer
1% Orange Muscat
Harvest Date: October 19th to 20th, 2009
Brix at Harvest: 23.5° average
Total Acidity: 0.67 g/100 ml
pH at Bottling: 3.16
Alcohol: 12.84% by volume
Residual Sugar: 2.15 g/100 ml
Vinification: Stainless steel fermented
M2 (Terpene and thiol varietal character enhancing)
R-HST (Terpene varietal character enhancing)
Maturation: Four months in stainless steel post fermentation
Bottling Date: February 5th, 2010

Winemaker's Comments
The 2009 J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling is a pale, youthful brassy yellow color with enticing fruit aromas of apple, apricot, peach, Bosc pear, rose petal and linalool.  The palate echoes the fruit aromas with apricot, apple and rose petal spice combined with refreshing acidity and slight palate spritz balanced by the 2.15% residual sugar. The 2009 White Riesling is an enticingly fruity, refreshing wine capable of complementing the vibrant flavors of Pacific Rim cuisine such as Thai chicken or beef satay, grilled soy-marinated salmon or served as an aperitif.


Price: $10.00 750ml


2008 J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah

The 2008 growing season presented signicant challenges to California winegrowers. Spring and autumn frosts--coupled with heat spikes, which impacted flowering and maturation--claimed much of the prized crop. Yields were at half of normal levels in the Paso Robles AVA, depending on variety, microclimate and cultural practices. This was the second consecutive vintage of drought, which limited vine growth and reduced cluster and berry size. Our Rhône varieties were fully ripened before the impact of fall frosts. Complete flavor development and seed maturity allowed for extended maceration in the fermenters. This wine shows density and a lovely expression of blueberry aromas and the complex varietal flavors of Syrah.

The J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah is grown on a combination of predominantly sandy and gravelly soils, to reign in Syrah’s rangy growth potential. The name South Ridge is derived from the orientation of its namesake vineyard, which sits on a southfacing hillside, resulting in fruit with intense flavors. As the popularity of Syrah has grown, we have planted two additional estate vineyards, one within a mile of the original planting, and the second is eight miles south in a slightly cooler area of the Paso Robles AVA.



Origin: Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County
Varietal: 93% Syrah, 3% Petite Sirah, 3% Grenache, 1% other reds
Brix at Harvest: 27.7° average
Total Acidity: 0.63 g/100 ml
pH at Bottling: 3.79
Alcohol: 13.45% by volume
Residual Sugar: 0.24 g/100ml
Vinification: Stainless steel fermented
Malolactic fermentation in barrel
Maturation: 14 months barrel aging in French and American oak, 25% new
Harvest Dates: September 2 through October 18, 2008

Winemaker's Comments
Dark crimson with a vibrant hue. Rich, ripe aromas of blueberry and black tea are framed with a bouquet of chestnut, and bolstered by flavors of blackberry and boysenberry. Medium body and a firm tannin structure. The finish is soft with just enough fruit acidity to activate the palate for pairings.

Steve Peck, red winemaker


Price: $15.00 750ml

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2007 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot

2007 was a very dry year in Paso Robles, with the seasonal total for rainfall registering a scant 4.4 inches.  Paso Robles was met with serious but short heat waves around the 4th of July and then in the beginning of August, the latter of which hit prior to veraison and had little effect on color development in our red varieties. Crop size was initially below projected in every vineyard, with smaller than average berry size--yet with excellent fruit quality, moderate tannins and deep, rich color.  This harvest temperament serves the Merlot variety well, offering ripe and juicy fruit flavors resulting from Paso Robles’ nearly extreme growing conditions.

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 2007 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot, as does the introduction of recently planted Italian clones.  We grow our Merlot grapes in Nacimiento-Los Osos, Arbuckle-San Ysidro and Arbuckle-Positas complex soils on our Los Osos vineyard in Paso Robles, where these well-drained but relatively poor soils have chalky or gravelly components.  



Origin: Paso Robles AVA, Los Osos Vineyard and Creston
Composition: 88% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
Brix at harvest: 25.8°
Brix Total acidity: 0.63 g/100 ml
pH at bottling: 3.67
Alcohol: 13.76% by volume
Residual sugar: Dry
Vinification: Stainless steel fermented. Malolactic in tank, racked and blended after fermentation
Maturation: 11 months in barrel, primarily American oak, 25% new
Bottling date: March 2009

Winemaker's Comments
The 2007 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot is dark crimson with a vibrant hue. Aromas of black cherry and blackberry fruit are framed with a signature, light chestnut oak note to complement the flavors of currant and cranberry. The addition of Malbec and Petit Verdot bring characteristic bright notes to an already flavorful wine. Our J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot is medium-bodied with firm and structured tannins, with a finish that is bright and activates the palate. Enjoy now or within ten years, with pork roast in a plum reduction sauce, or baked or roasted chicken.


Price: $15.00 750ml



2008 J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2008 growing season presented signicant challenges to California winegrowers. Spring and autumn frosts--coupled with heat spikes, which impacted flowering and maturation--claimed much of the prized crop. Yields were at half of normal levels in the Paso Robles AVA, depending on variety, microclimate and cultural practices. This was the second consecutive vintage of drought, which limited vine growth and reduced cluster and berry size. The silver lining, of course, is that the reduced berry size made for high extract, intensely flavored Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The quality of the 2008 vintage is apparent in the wine’s density and strong regional expression of black cherry and blackberry fruit, with melted, dark chocolate tannin flavors

Cabernet Sauvignon
The predominant fruit for our J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon comes from estate vineyards located directly opposite our J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center. The Seven Oaks vineyard was originally planted on its own rootstock, utilizing some of the original plantings from indigenous Estrella clones. The soils in our Paso Robles vineyards vary from gravelly clay loam to limestone-based soils over a relatively small parcel of land, and various rootstock and clonal combinations have been used to maximize the expression of each individual site. The different soil types and planting combinations add to and complement the palate of the Seven Oaks Cabernet and the other red varietals we produce--including Petit Verdot and Merlot--to add balance and weight to the wine.



Origin: Seven Oaks Vineyard, Paso Robles
Composition: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Syrah, 3% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% other reds
Total Acidity: 0.67 g/100 ml
pH at Bottling: 3.79
Alcohol: 13.7% by volume
Residual Sugar: Dry
Vinification: Stainless steel fermented
Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks and barrels
Maturation: 12 to 14 months aging in primarily American oak
Harvest Dates: Sept 15 through October 28, 2008

Winemaker's Comments
A bouyant red-purple color with bright hues. Generous aromas of black cherry, black currant and plum fruit, complemented by vanilla, tar and toasty notes from the twelve to fourteen months in barrel. On the palate, the fruit flavors echo the aroma, complexed with blackberry and a plump, softly texture mouthfeel and finish.

Jeff Meier, winemaker


Price: $17.00 750ml



2008 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay

The vintage of 2008 was the third consecutive drought year in the Central Coast with total rainfall amounting to less than seven inches. Additionally, we had a very hard freeze in January followed by very cool weather all the way to bloom in May. The end result was record low yields in Chardonnay primarily due to cool, windy weather during set.  The only silver lining to this vintage was very mild weather throughout the summer with typical Monterey County fog and winds for much of June, July and August. We made a conscious decision to pick all of our Chardonnay fruit at riper levels, especially the French clones 76, 95 and 96 to further enrich the flavor of Riverstone Chardonnay. In 2008, that meant waiting until October 1st for the first pick of our French clone Chardonnay in Blocks 2 and 4 at 25.2° Brix and concluding harvest on October 23rd with the final pick of California clone Chardonnay at 26.1° Brix.


The 2008 vintage marks the twenty-second year of production of our Riverstone Chardonnay, from our vineyards in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County. Each year, starting in 1995, we have experimented with and have incorporated higher percentages of traditional Burgundian production techniques into Riverstone, until the desired complexity and end-results were achieved (reaching 60% in 2000).  The result is a complex and nuanced Chardonnay with an abundance of Arroyo Seco fruit, with subtle barrel fermentation and malolactic character.  The vines are grown primarily on Elder loam soils underlain by "riverstones" deposited over thousands of years from the Arroyo Seco River, allowing a four-foot rooting zone that keeps the vines’ vegetative growth and fruit in balance. Additionally, the cool climate and winds of the Salinas Valley extend the growing season and retain the natural grape acids and intense varietal character of the Chardonnay.



Origin: Riverstone, Arroyo Seco AVA
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Harvest Dates: October 1st to October 23rd, 2008
Brix at Harvest: 25.8° average
Total Acidity: 0.70 g/100 ml
pH at Bottling: 3.58
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Vinification: 100% barrel fermented in combination of American, Hungarian and French oak at 55 to 65° F.
Malolactic fermentation in barrel of 50% of the Chardonnay
Maturation: 8 to 10 months in combination of American, Hungarian and French Oak Barrels from new to fourth fill

Winemaker's Comments

The 2008 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay has a very youthful straw yellow color.  The aromas are of ripe bosc pear, fuji apple, lime and honeysuckle combined with the perfumed vanilla and toasty oak bouquet from the barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation and sur lie aging creating an elegant Chardonnay from Monterey’s Arroyo Seco AVA. The flavors are very clean with ripe pear, subtle floral notes and vanilla toastiness, producing layers of complexity with an excellent balance of fresh fruit acidity and palate-weight. This wine is ideal for pairing with oven-roasted chicken, Dungeness crab or grilled salmon.

Jeff Meier, winemaker


Price: $14.00 750ml

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