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