The 2009 growing season in Paso Robles had a dry start and a wet finish. Preseason rainfall totals were scant, reaching just half of the 12 inch norm. Merlot responded to the dry conditions by setting smaller, more intense berries with berry weights averaging under 1 gram. Cold April temperatures limited vine growth in the first month after budbreak but were followed by a warmer month of May with a one day temperature spike reaching 104° F just after bloom. The added heat units helped to establish the canopy needed to get the Merlot harvest underway. However, we were hit by an unlikely storm on October 13th that delivered over 6 inches of rain in a single day and delayed our harvest plans for a week. The 2009 wines show intense color and significant tannin structure, with the bright fruit signature that we expect from J. Lohr.
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 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 in our vineyards in Paso Robles, where these welldrained but relatively poor soils have chalky or gravelly components.
This wine is an ideal pairing for seafood bisque or filet with wild mushrooms.
|Apellation:||Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County|
|Composition:||78% Merlot,17% Malbec, 4% Zinfandel, 1% Petie Verdot|
|Harvest Dates:||September 28 through October 21st, 2009|
|Brix at harvest:||25.2° Brix avg|
|Fermentation:||Whole berry fermentation in stainless steel tanks|
|Maturation:||12 months in barrel|
|Barrel type:||American Oak (Missouri and Minnesota)|
|Total Acidity:||0.67 g/100ml|
|Alcohol:||13.9% by volume|
|Cellaring: .||Delicious now, but has the structure to age up to 5 years|
The 2009 J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot has a mature red color with a raspberry hue. Black cherry and pomegranate aromas are accentuated by the high fraction of Malbec in this year’s blend. The toasty oak signature is reminiscent of hazelnut and dark chocolate. This soft red wine has a fine texture on the palate and finishes with a bright Rainier cherry fruit signature. —Steve Peck, red winemaker