J. Lohr Vineyard Series

2009 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir

On October 13th, 2009, with El Niño conditions firmly in place, we experienced our first
significant harvest-time rain event in recent memory at our GV9 ranch in the Arroyo Seco
AVA. This rain preceded our harvesting a beautiful crop of Pinot Noir on October 22nd. The
accumulated effects of drought during the four years previous resulted in concentrated flavors and low fruit yields. Clones 777 and Pommard 4 produced the most exceptional lots for the 2009 Fog’s Reach blend.


Appellation: Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest Dates: September 22 through 30, 2009
Harvest Process: Early morning hand-harvested into 1,000 pound bins, destemmed, sorted on Vaucher Beguet sorting table and crushed to six and twelve ton open-top stainless steel fermenters
Cold Soak: 5 days average
Harvest chemistries:

Brix 26.9°
pH 3.62
total acidity 0.57 g/100ml

Vinification: Yeast: RC212, Assmanshausen and AWRI 1503
Fermentation: Stainless steel fermented in
open-top tanks with manual punch down of cap
Temperature: 92° F peak fermentation
Maceration: 9 days on average
Malolactic: Inoculation in stainless steel and completion in French oak barrels
Maturation: Aged 8 months in French oak
barrels; 60% new/40% third fill
Barrel Type: French, Burgundy barrels;
medium to heavy toast
Forests: Predominantly Bertrange and Allier
Coopers: Francois Fréres, Dargaud et Jaegle, Sirugue and Remond
Post maturation:  Bulldog rack from barrels,
blend lots, bottled July 2010
Bottling Chemistries: pH : 3.84
Total Acidity: 0.52 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.89% by volume
Residual Sugar: Dry
Cases produced: 1,113
Cellaring: 10 year aging potential, with the
greatest evolution after one year of bottle age

Winemaker's Comments

The 2009 vintage produced an intensely-colored Pinot Noir with a reddish hue. Classic varietal aromas of blue sage and strawberry compote are complimented by vanilla and a layer of smoke. Flavors resonate with rich strawberry and a sage-honey finish. This is a wine for the decade that will have its greatest evolution in the first year of bottle aging.

                                                                                        —Steve Peck, red winemaker

Price: $35.00 750ml

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2008 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay


The vintage of 2008 was the third consecutive drought year in the Arroyo Seco 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 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. The tiny yields and cool weather produced Arroyo Vista Chardonnay with vibrant, cooler climate fruit flavors of citrus and apple with surprisingly moderate acidity.

The Arroyo Vista Chardonnay is grown in the heart of the windswept and cool Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County. Loamy sand and gravelly loam soils of the Elder series are intermixed and underlain by “Greenfield potatoes” - stones that resemble potatoes in size and appearance and which absorb heat during the day and radiate their heat after sunset. This underlayment of stone effectively limits root growth to the top three to five feet of soil, harmoniously balancing the fruit and shoot growth of our Chardonnay vines.



Appellation:  Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Harvest Dates: October 5, 6 and 9, 2008
Harvest Process: Night harvested, vineyard pressed (to 0.8 bars) and settled
Harvest Chemistries:

Brix: 24.7°

pH: 3.57,

total acidity: 0.63 g/100 ml

Yeast: Montrachet, Uninoculated (Wild Yeast) and M2
Fermentation: In barrel for an average of 23
Malolactic: Inoculated each barrel with
MCW strain of malolactic bacteria in October 2008, and completed malolactic fermentation in December 2008
Stirring: Eleven consecutive weeks of stirring from November 2008 to January 2009 (during malolactic fermentation and three weeks past)
Post-stirring: Monthly topping of barrels and
free sulfur dioxide and oxygen monitoring
Maturation: Aged in barrel sur lie until initial
blending (assemblage) in May 2009, returning to barrels with lees for a total of 15 months in 50% new French oak barrels
Barrel Type: Burgundy style, French oak
Forests: Troncais 
Coopers: Francois Frères, Marcel Cadet
Bottling chemistries:
pH : 3.51
Total Acidity: 0.65 g/100 ml
Alcohol: 14.25% by volume
Residual Sugar: 0.25 g/100 ml
Cases produced: 5,599
Cellaring:  Delicious now but may be cellared through 2013

Winemaker's Comments

Bright, youthful straw-yellow color with aromas of Golden Delicious apple, lime zest and pear. Made in a Burgundian style including alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel with lees stirring, which contributes to a very complex bouquet of grilled nuts, butterscotch and gun flint with a very rich and unctuous mouthfeel. This is an enticingly delicious Chardonnay with complex aromas and flavors balanced by palate-cleansing acidity. 


Price: $25.00 750ml


2009 J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay

"GOLD" - 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition


In many ways, the conditions of the 2009 vintage resembled those of the 2008, with the exception of the early blast of heat we had during the 2008 flowering. Thankfully, this heat wave missed the critical set period. As a result, the crop 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 turned cool and foggy, and remained so throughout May, June, July, and all but the last weeks of August. We witnessed Indian summer temperatures in early September, which provided the final push needed to fully ripen this aromatic clone.


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: September 20, 2009
Process: Night harvested, vineyard pressed (to 0.8 bars) and settled
Harvest Chemistries: 25.0° Brix, pH 3.58, total acidity .60 g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast:  M2 and Montrachet

Fermentation:  In barrel for an average of 10 days

Malolactic:  Inoculated each barrel with MCW strain of malolactic bacteria on Oct 23, 2009. Completed malolactic fermentation on Jan 6, 2010

Stirring:  Weekly stirring of each barrel starting Oct 22, 2009 until Jan 2010 (during malolactic fermentation and one month post)

Post-Stirring:  Monthly topping up of barrels and free sulfur dioxide and oxygen monitoring

Maturation:  Aged in barrel sur lie for 12
months in 17% new oak

Barrel Type: French oak

Forests: Troncais

Coopers: Francois Fréres

Bottling chemistries:

PH: 3.46

Total Acidity: 0.72g/100ml

Alcohol: 14.3% by volume

Residual Sugar: 0.37g/100ml

Cases produced: 1,073

Cellaring: Delicious now, but can be cellared for up to 5 years

Winemaker's Comments

A youthful straw-yellow color, with Muscat and floral aromas paired with lemon curd, pear and 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. All of these techniques have contributed to form a wonderfully complex bouquet that is echoed on the palate with textural richness.

                                                                                                    —Jeff Meier, winemaker


2008 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah

"BEST OF CLASS" - 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition


The 2008 growing season presented significant challenges on our ranch as well as vineyards across California. Spring and autumn frosts--coupled with heat spikes, which impacted flowering and maturation--claimed much of the prized crop. Yields for Petite Sirah were just 3 tons per acre, which was still much better than many of the Bordeaux varieties on the ranch. 2008 was the second consecutive vintage of drought in the area which limited vine growth and reduced cluster and berry size significantly. The result was high extract, intensely-flavored wines like this wonderful third release of Tower Road. Our winemaking techniques have evolved as we have learned to perfect the extraction of this highly phenolic grape variety. 2008 is the first vintage of Tower Road that is 100% Petite Sirah. The quality of the vintage is apparent in this wine’s density and its combination of blackberry fruit and dense, supple tannin.




Origin: Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County
Composition: 100% Petite Sirah
Harvest Dates: October 2 and 10, 2008
Process: Hand-harvested
Harvest Numbers: Brix 28° avg, pH 3.81, total acidity 0.55g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast: Lallemand 43 and Fermicru VR5

Fermentation: Open-top tank

Temperature: Peak at 95°F

Maceration: 5 to 6 days on skins

Maloactic: In barrel

Maturation: 18 months in oak barrels

Barrel Type: American and French barrels
(50% new)

Forests: Missouri, mixed forest French Syrah Selection

Coopers: World Cooperage and Meyrieux

Post-Maturation: Rack from barrels, egg white fine and bottle
Bottling Numbers:

pH: 3.8

Total Acidity: 0.63g/100ml

Alcohol: 15.17% by volume

Res. Sugar: dry

Cases produced: 2,922

Cellaring: This dense wine will open up early with a splash decant and should develop in bottle up to 10 years

Winemaker's Comments

An opaque blackness fills the glass and is surrounded by a ring of youthful magenta in our Tower Road Petite Sirah. The toasted hazelnut bouquet is lifted by aromas of blackberry pie and bread dough that we love in this blend. The palate is dense, brooding and finely-textured, followed by a fruit-forward finish.

Steve Peck, red winemaker


Price: $35.00 750ml

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2009 J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Honoring a Legacy
Two years ago, J. Lohr began the Touching Lives program in memory of Carol Waldorf Lohr, late wife of founder Jerry Lohr. In 2008, Carol, who was the muse for Jerry’s Napa Valley vineyard, passed away unexpectedly due to complications related to breast cancer. Since, the Lohr family has been working to curtail the impact of breast cancer in the lives of other families.
Touching Lives, One Toast at a Time
This past year, we set out to provide 500 mammograms for women in need by donating $2 from every bottle sold of our J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. With more than 4,000 mammograms funded to date, we have long surpassed our goal! As we partner again with NBCF for the third year in a row, we will continue to expand our efforts to raise money in support of early detection, which has been proven to save lives. Read More.

For more information on NBCF, or to make a donation, please visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org.

Cool and mild weather during the 2009 growing season set the stage for optimal Sauvignon Blanc flavor development. Mild conditions during flowering assured a good crop, and the long cool season allowed the grapes to mature to their full potential. To create a complex and delicate Sauvignon Blanc with herbal and exotic fruit flavors we picked the vineyard in two stages. Our first pick was on August 14th at 23.3° Brix, which gave us herbal, boxwood and gooseberry characters. The final harvest came on August 19th at 23.8° Brix, and produced flavors of grapefruit and passion fruit. The juices from each picking date were fermented separately; this allowed us to apply winemaking techniques that maximize the desired characteristics of each pick. For the 2009 vintage, we destemmed, pressed and settled the Sauvignon Blanc in tanks, followed by fermentation in 55-gallon stainless steel barrels. All winemaking was done in a very reductive environment (excluding oxygen) and the resultant blend of both picks is an elegant style of a delicately herbal and citrus-flavored Sauvignon Blanc.



Carol’s Vineyard is a thirty-four acre parcel located in north St. Helena in the Napa Valley, bounded on the east by the Napa River and on the north by Pratt Avenue.  Sauvignon Blanc represents 10.88 acres of Carol’s Vineyard and is planted in the eastern portion of the vineyard adjacent to the Napa River where outstanding Sauvignon Blanc has grown.  The soils are very loamy and well drained, with a fair amount of gravel.  The Clone 1 Sauvignon Blanc is grown on a quadrilateral cordon trellis to control vine vigor, preserving a single leaf layer in the south-exposed fruit zone, providing only dappled sun exposure to the grape clusters, which preserves some of the natural herbaceous fruit character.




Origin: Carol’s Vineyard, Napa Valley AVA
Composition: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Harvest Dates: August 14 and 19, 2009
Process: Hand harvested, early morning, crushed and pressed in the Napa Valley
Harvest Chemistries: First pick: 23.3° Brix average, pH 3.25, total acidity 0.80 g/100ml
Second pick: 23.8° Brix average, pH 3.23, total acidity 0.72 g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast: Vin 7 for the first pick and Vin 2000 for the second pick
Fermentation: 100% in stainless steel barrels
Maturation: Aged 6½ months in stainless steel barrels on light lees
Bottling Chemistries: pH : 3.30
Total Acidity: 0.72 g/100ml
Alcohol: 13.5% by volume
Residual Sugar: Dry
Cases produced: 2,866
Cellaring: Delicious now, but can be cellared for 2 to 3 years

Winemaker's Comments

J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is a pale, youthful,
straw yellow color with a complex aroma of grapefruit, dried flowers,
gun flint and faint herbaceous freshness. On the palate, the wine has
excellent weight and bright acidity with clean fruit flavors reminiscent
of the aromas. Serve at 45 to 50 degrees.

 Jeff Meier, winemaker


Price: $24.00 750ml

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2008 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Vineyard Pinot Noir

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 of our Pinot Noir, producing half of historic yields, due to poor berry set. The 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. Weather at harvest was moderate and full maturity was reached. Picking decisions were made on flavor, with Clone 115, 667 and Pommard 4 producing the best lots this vintage.


Appellation: Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County
Composition:  100% Pinot Noir
Harvest Dates:  October 1 and 2, 2008
Harvest Process: Hand-harvested early morning into 1,000 pound bins, destemmed, sorted on Vaucher-beguet sorting table and crushed to six and twelve ton open-top stainless steel fermenters
Cold Soak:  Three to five days
Harvest chemistries: 26° Brix, pH 3.67,
total acidity 0.71 g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast: RC212 and Assmanshausen
Fermentation: Stainless steel fermented with manual punchdown of cap
Temperature: To 92°F
Maceration: 6 to 10 days
Malolactic: Inoculation in stainless steel and completion in French oak barrels
Maturation: Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 50% new/50% second fill
Barrel Type: French, Burgundy barrels
Forests: Predominantly Bertrange and Allier
Coopers: Francois Fréres, Dargaud et Jaegle, de Mercurey, Remond and Sirugue
Post-Maturation: Rack from barrels, blend lots, bottle age 11 months prior to release
Bottling Chemistries: pH: 3.8
Total Acidity: 0.63 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Residual sugar: Dry   
Cases produced: 1,090
Cellaring: Delicious now, with the structure to age for up to 7 years.

Winemaker's Comments

Deep red-purple with youthful hues and moderate density. Enticing
aromas of strawberry and rhubarb jam, with a bouquet of toasted oak and sage. The flavors are reminiscent of stewed strawberry and cherry with hazelnut spiciness. A wisp of fresh herbs and tactile structure leave a long, lingering finish.


Price: $35.00 750ml



2007 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 was a very dry year in Paso Robles, with the seasonal total for rainfall registering a scant 4.4 inches. Fortunately, temperatures were mild and did not exacerbate the extremely dry conditions. Vine canopies were small, as were cluster and berry size, resulting in some of the lowest yields we have seen in the last ten years. These natural limitations imposed on the vines resulted in remarkably good cabernet sauvignon fruit quality, with outstanding color and flavors. For the second consecutive year, we incurred no significant heat events after veraison and had very mild weather conditions straight through harvest, allowing each block to be picked at optimal flavor development.



Appellation: Paso Robles AVA,
San Luis Obispo County
Composition 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah, 4% Malbec,
4% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
Harvest Dates: October 13 through 25, 2007
Process: Hand and machine-harvested.
Select lots were berry sorted on Vaucher Beguit Mistral to remove shot berries and sunburned fruit. Crushed to small, stainless steel fermenters.
Harvest Chemistries: Avgs of 26.6° Brix, pH
3.46, total acidity 0.51g/100ml
Vinification: Yeast: Lallemand D-80, Pasteur Red
Fermentation:  Small stainless steel tanks and open-top tanks
Temperature: Peak fermentation at 92°F
Maceration: 6 to 10 days
Malo-Lactic: completed with Viniflora Oenos
Maturation: 18 months in 225 liter French oak barrels
Barrel Type: French oak Chateau Ferré-style barrels
Forest: Center of France, Allier
Coopers: Sylvain, Vicard, Saury and Demptos
Post-Maturation: 11 months bottle age prior to
Bottling Chemistries: pH: 3.71
Total Acidity: 0.69 g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.6 % by vol
Residual Sugar: Dry
Cases produced: 15,654
Cellaring: Delicious upon release, but has the structure to age for up to 10 to 15 years.

The 2007 Hilltop is dark colored with red-purple hues. Aromas of
black plum, cherry and fresh fig are wrapped in a bouquet of roasted
hazelnut, coconut and Italian espresso. This wine offers large palate
volume in a very soft package with a supple finish. This new world
wine showcases the best of the varietal fruit, with complexity and
structure reminiscent of the finest of Bordeaux.
—Steve Peck, red winemaker


Price: $42.00 750ml

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6-8
From Cahoots Cookbook by Lisa Jones and Jim Subject

“This is a simple soup to make. In the fall I start craving winter squashes-whether they are in a soup, ravioli or pie. We have served this soup (as well as the Pumpkin Corn Chowder) at the J. Lohr Wine Center for their fall open house, and we had so many requests for the recipe we agreed to publish it in their newsletter. I like to serve it as an appetizer in a little teacup or demitasse cup as guests arrive; it helps “break the ice.” - Lisa Jones


  • 1 head of garlic, trim top and peel off loose outer skin
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 pounds butternut squash (about 1 squash), carefully cut into 8 pieces, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken stock, warmed


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees convection).
  2. Place the garlic, onion and butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Bake for about 60 minutes or until tender.
  3. Scrape squash off the skin, discard skin. Peel the onion and squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin. Puree in food processor with pan juices. Add puree to a 4-quart saucepan.
  4. Warm pan with puree over medium heat. Add cream and whisk in warmed chicken stock. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper

Grilled Wild Salmon with Heirloom Tomatoes

In a nod to our two primary appellations, Vineyard EVP/COO Steve Lohr recommends this delicious salmon dish, from Paso Robles’ famed ‘American Bistro’ Artisan, paired with either J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay or J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay .  Over a recent Thanksgiving holiday, Steve prepared this dish for friends, to high acclaim.


  • 1 ½ lbs heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties
  • 2 cups fresh chick peas (ceci beans), cleaned and blanched
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs wild salmon, skin on, bones removed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup shallots, diced
  • 1 additional shallot, minced separately
  • 1 T chervil, minced
  • 1 T tarragon, minced
  • 1 T chives, minced
  • 2 T flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 t grey sea salt
  • ¼ lb thick-sliced bacon, julienne 
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz rocket (wild arugula)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


Heat grill to 275°. In a small mixing bowl, combine lemon zest, ½ cup shallots, chervil, tarragon, chives and parsley with 2 T of olive oil. Place salmon skin-side down on a baking sheet, and season with 2 t of kosher salt and some pepper. Spread a third of the herb mixture on the fish, then turn fish over. Spread the remaining mixture on the skin side, season with the grey salt and more pepper. Place fish in a wire fish basket and grill over indirect heat, skin side-up for about 20 minutes for medium, or until the desired doneness. Reserve.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp. Transfer bacon to a bowl, reserve the fat in the pan.  Add 2 T of olive oil and the shallot to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the shallot is softened. Add the vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard. Add bacon and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper and half of the lemon juice. Place the rocket on top of a platter and drizzle about a ¼ cup of the vinaigrette on top. Arrange the tomatoes on the rocket and scatter the ceci beans on top. Pull the salmon apart into large 2-inch chunks and nestle the pieces amongst the tomatoes and beans. Dress with a little more vinaigrette and lemon juice and serve.

Serves 4

Oaxacan Black Molé with Chicken

Assistant Winemaker Karl Antink isn’t shy about his love for heat, and has modified this exciting recipe, originally found in Gourmet Magazine. The many delicious spices and ingredients mean this is a meal to wow your next large dinner party.  If you have difficulty sourcing chiles, you can pare down with a larger number chipotle chiles—just don’t include jalapeños!  While the Valdiguié cools the spice with fresh, ripe berry and cherry flavors, the Hilltop Cabernet’s supple richness complements the chocolate in the molé. Enjoy!

This recipe calls for different components that work beautifully together to offer an aromatic yet nuanced flavor profile. Ingredients and directions are separated for ease of preparation.


Chile Purée:

  • 10 dried Pasilla chiles
  • 5 dried Arbol chiles
  • 5 dried Ancho Negro chiles
  • 2 dried Chipotle chiles
  • 2 dried Cascabel chiles
  • 2 quarts boiling water

Remove seeds and stems from all dried chiles and save the seeds. Toast chiles in a dry skillet set to med-high heat until they start to blacken but not burn. When the chiles are toasted place them in a bowl and cover chiles with boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes. While the chiles are soaking toast chile seeds in the same skillet until they begin to blacken then add to soaking chiles. After 30 minutes transfer chiles to blender, add enough of the soaking water to facilitate blending and create a smooth puree. Strain chile purée into another bowl to remove pieces of skins and seeds. Set chile purée aside.

Seasoning mixture:

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 T whole almonds
  • 2 T whole raw peanuts, shelled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-5 black pepper corns
  • 3 cloves
  • 1-2 allspice berries
  • 1 slice bread, torn into large pieces
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 T pecans
  • 2 T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 T raisins
  • 2 T prunes
  • Vegetable oil

Cook onion and garlic in a dry skillet on med-high heat, stirring occasionally until charred in spots and remove to a large bowl. Toast almonds, peanuts, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, pecans and pepitas, stirring occasionally until browned in spots then add to the seasoning mixture bowl with onions and garlic. Heat 2-3 T of oil in skillet until smoking, add raisins and prunes and cook until raisins plump up and change color. Remove raisins and prunes and add to the seasoning mixture. Place bread in same skillet with more oil if needed and cook until browned, add to seasoning mixture. In same skillet with more oil if needed, fry diced plantain until brown and add to seasoning mixture. Fry sesame seeds in the same skillet at low heat, with constant stirring until lightly browned. Grind sesame seeds to paste in a bowl and add to the seasoning mixture. Purée seasoning mixture with 2 cups of chicken stock until smooth. Strain mixture into a bowl.

Tomato mixture:

  • ½ lb tomatoes
  • ¼ lb tomatillos, husks removed
  • ½ t dried thyme
  • ½ t dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ t dried epazote

Char tomatoes and tomatillos over a grill or in a dry skillet set to med-high until skins are blackened in spots. Dice tomatoes and tomatillos and purée in a blender with the thyme, oregano, epazote and ½ cup chicken stock. Strain purée and set aside.


  • 6-8 lbs of cooked chicken. The chicken can be roasted, grilled or stewed
  • 4 oz Mexican chocolate
  • 1 dried avocado leaf
  • 2 quart chicken stock

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in 5-6 quart heavy pot until shimmering; add all chile purée (watch for splattering). Cook until purée is reduced by one third or so while stirring. Stir in tomato purée and cook for 8-10 minutes stirring until slightly reduced and thick. Stir in seasoning mixture and cook for 10 minutes while stirring. Stir in 1 cup of chicken stock and cook for 15-20 minutes with stirring. Add Mexican chocolate and stir until melted. Toast an avocado leaf briefly over flame or in a skillet and add to pot. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and simmer with stirring until molé reaches desired thickness (Molé should be at least thick enough to cover the back of a spoon). Season to taste with salt.

To Serve:
Spoon molé over chicken, serve with rice and J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié.or J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon. Molé can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated.

Serves 10-12

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