The 2007 vintage was largely defined by a shortage of winter rainfall which was just 40% of normal. This resulted in intense fruit with 10-20% lower yields than 2005 and 2006 in general. Seasonal summer heat spikes occurred earlier than normal, before the fruit had softened at veraison. The daily maximum temperature exceeded 100 degrees only three times between veraison and harvest at these sites, which helped to maintain the freshness of fruit and soft mouthfeel which is the signature of this debut Rhône blend inspired by our friends in the south of France.
The source of the Grenache and Mourvèdre components of this blend is the Gravity Hills Vineyard, located in the Willow Creek district on the western edge of the Paso Robles AVA. These ten-year old-vines are planted on a steep, southwest facing, limeshale hillside. The 23% slope in these blocks makes just walking the vineyard very difficult. Our farming plan brings the crop to one cluster per shoot. These large-clustered varieties require trimming off the wings and the lower third of the clusters shortly after set to intensify flavor. Both varieties were hand harvested into half-ton bins on October 31st. Weather was ideal for bringing about full ripeness in 2007, and the final picking decision was predicated on a moderation of fruit acidity just before picking.
|Origin:||Gravity Hills and Terra Bella Vineyards|
|Varietal:||50% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 12% Mourvèdre|
|Brix at Harvest:||28° Brix average|
|Total Acidity:||0.71 g/100 ml|
|pH at Bottling:||3.42|
|Alcohol:||15.88% by volume|
|Residual Sugar:||0.22 g/100ml|
|Vinification:||After destemming, the berries were sorted on our VB Mistral system. Cold soaked fruit was fermented in open top tanks with a gentle punch-down regime. One third of Grenache was fermented in new Francois Frères barrels with heads removed. Malolactic fermentation was completed in barrel.|
|Maturation:||15 months barrel aging in one and two-year-old French oak.|
|Bottling Date:||March 17th, 2009; 609 cases produced.|
We are pleased with how the farming, winemaking and aging came successfully together to preserve and showcase the fresh, wild berry fragrance of the Grenache fruit in the debut release of 2007 J. Lohr Gesture GSM. The Syrah component has brought body, depth and dark berry fruit notes to the mid-palate, while Mourvèdre has provided volume and black pepper spice to the finish. With proper storage, the fruit character will likely peak after two or three winters in the cellar, and the phenolic structure will continue to evolve and soften over the next decade. Enjoy this Rhône red blend with braised or roasted duck.