Zinfandel holds its place as the heritage grape among winemakers in Paso Robles, where Paderewski and others established the earliest plantings a century ago. This 2011 Willow Creek gem from the J. Lohr Gesture lineup gets its brightest red fruit notes from a steep, south-facing block planted on lime shale, picked just prior to a 2” rainshower that arrived the first week of October. The dark, dried fruit and floral characters from a neighboring site long-owned by the Guibinni family were picked a week later, after warm weather pushed the fruit to full maturity. Both the 2011 and 2010 vintages will go down in the records as the two coolest vintages in a decade. Even in a warm year, this Zinfandel struggles to mature prior to autumn rains. It is the acidity, and not sugar development, that defines ripeness in this arena. Our picking was predicated on a drop in acidity coinciding with a burst in flavor long after the sugar maturity had been achieved. The 2011 Gesture Zinfandel has brambly and floral aromatics with raspberry fruit on the palate and a freshness that complements rich cuisine.
J. Lohr Gesture Zinfandel is grown on two vineyard sites in the Willow Creek district of Paso Robles, near the crossing of Highway 46 West & Vineyard Drive. Zinfandel grown at this location can sometimes be difficult to ripen before the onset of October rain and frosts in this coastal belt, where Spanish moss grows abundantly in the surrounding oak forests. Besides the cool climate, this terroir is greatly defined by the Gazos Shaly Loam soil which is hardly soil at all--looking more like a solid rock formation at times. Thinning in the vineyard is key to this program, both at veraison and prior to harvest. This allows us to select the best maturing bunches to give the wine optimal flavor balance.
|Appellation:||Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA|
|Composition:||87% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah|
|Harvest Date:||October 3 and Oct 12, 2011|
|Harvest Process:||Hand-harvested, 15% Saignée|
|Harvest Chemistries:||25.8° Brix, total acidity .83 g/100ml, pH 3.25|
|Yeast: Maurivin B (a specialty yeast that metabolizes much of the malic acid in the juice)|
|Fermentation: Stainless steel|
|Temperature: 3 day cold soak ramped up to 92°F peak fermentation temperature|
|Maceration: 9 days on skins prior to pressing|
|Malolactic: 100% malolactic complete|
|Maturation: 9 months, 35% new French oak|
|Barrel Type: 1st and 2nd fill French oak barrels|
|Forests: Center of France|
|Total Acidity: 0.66 g/100ml|
|Alcohol: 14.92% by volume|
|Residual Sugar: 0.050 g/100ml|
|Cellaring: Great fruit in first three years, but can be cellared for 8 to 10 years.|
|Cases Produced: 750 cases|
This floral 2011 J. Lohr Gesture Zinfandel is reflective of the cool vintage and the terroir of Willow Creek district of Paso Robles. Brambly raspberry, dried fruit and floral aromas reflect the different character of two nearby growing sites. Bright acidity is lively on the palate and a great companion for grilled skirt steak and rich cheeses.
-Steve Peck, red winemaker
Delicious with grilled skirt steak or rich cheeses.