2011 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah

The 2011 and 2010 vintages had a lot in common in the Paso Robles growing region. Both were considered “wet” vintages, with winter rainfall roughly 50% above normal. Both were “cool” vintages with growing degree day totals markedly lower than any vintage in a decade, and both benefitted from Indian Summer conditions that fully ripened fruit regardless of light rainfall in October. The defining difference for the two vintages was an April frost that reduced crop size by 30 to 60 percent in 2011. Fewer clusters with larger berries was the norm. This is not a bad combination for Petite Sirah, where smaller berries with their higher skin to juice ratio can result in overly tannic wines. We saw berry size 30 percent larger than historical norms in our Petite Sirah in 2011 and the resulting wines were soft and fruit driven. Summer temperatures exceeded 100°F only 15 days during the season, which was about half of normal. This helped to preserve acidity and color in the fruit, and helped to create a ripe blackberry flavor profile preferred in Paso Robles Petite Sirahs.

In the vineyards surrounding Tower Road, in the Estrella and San Miguel districts of Paso Robles, our Petite Sirah thrives on the well-drained yet heavier clay soils of the area. The rarity of autumn rains in Paso Robles allows this tightclustered variety to reach full maturity almost every year, without the risk of bunch-rot that exists in damper regions around the state. Our ripening program requires that we apply bird netting to the vines in August to assure that birds don’t overfeed on this especially flavorful grape before harvest. Despite intense summer sun and very warm daytime temperatures in Paso Robles, the gentle afternoon breezes that creep in from the Monterey Bay to the north and from the Templeton Gap to the west cool the area by as much as 50 degrees by early morning, preserving the acidity and bright fruit character of our Petite Sirah.


Origin: Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, California
Composition: 97% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah, 1% Zinfandel
Harvest Dates: October 26th and 27th, 2011
Process: Hand-harvested into half-ton bins
Harvest Numbers: 27° Brix, total acidity 0.61 g/100ml, pH 3.75 

Destemmed and fermented in 10 ton open-top tanks. Cap management with light punchdowns
Yeast: Maurivin Distinction
Fermentation: Whole berries
Temperature: Moderate temperatures to reduce seed tannin extraction
Maceration: 4 day cold soak with 4 day fermentation and early pressing
Maloactic: 100% malolactic in barrels through December and January
Maturation: 16 months barrel age
Barrel Type: 225 liter French oak Burgundy export barrels, 60% new
Forests: Rive Droît and a blend of Five Forests
Coopers: Vallaurine and Marcel Cadet

Post-Maturation: Released 4 months after bottling
Bottling Numbers: pH: 3.76
Total Acidity: 0.66g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.65% by volume
Res. Sugar: 0.16 g/100 ml 
Cases Produced: 6,500 six-packs)
Cellaring: This dense and delicious wine will open up early with a splash-decant, and should develop in the bottle for up to 10 years.

“Inviting aromas of homemade olallieberry pie with a delicate “pastry-like” French oak barrel signature proceed the rich, soft fruit flavors. The finish is long with a touch of fine talc on the palate.”
Steve Peck, Red Winemaker

Pairs well with aromatic herbs and pan-seared meat dishes such as rosemary lamb chops with roasted fennel.

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