“Then & Now” Part II - J. Lohr Winery

OK, I am back at it again.  Let’s just call it Part 2 of Then & Now.  I cannot resist diving into that old tasting notebook of mine, spotting a wine that I said I enjoyed back in 1994 and tasting it again here in 2007. 

I probably have been drinking that same wine over the years, but not being cognizant of what I taste.  Over the past few years I have just been enjoying wine.  Nothing wrong with that!  I do not want to say I am not paying attention to what I am drinking, but I have not been taking notes of what I taste.  Just recently, since I have been writing about what I am drinking, I have started to make specific notes again.  Therefore, I am back into the education part of my wine consumption and having, well, FUN!     On with the wine!

“NOW” my choice this time is a red wine, as last time it was white and I guess I should give equal billing to both.  I chose a very nice 2005 J. Lohr, Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon from California.  It has 13.7% alcohol and a cork closure.  It is made up from the following combination of grapes – 77% Cabernet, 6% Petit Sirah, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 2% Syrah, 1% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc and the other 2% is a variety.  These grapes have produced the most beautiful intensely colored wine with a deep, bright red-purple hue.  As the aromas hit your nose, you get that blast of dark cherry which then reappears in your mouth with your first sip with a slight hint of clove and spice following.  This wine is very fruit forward in your mouth with nicely balanced tannins and is so smooth with a lingering finish.  A great value for only $14.99 a bottle!

“THEN” I had the 1990 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.  My tiny tasting note was – smooth, not heavily tannic, a bit grapey, but a great value for a Cabernet at $9.99 a bottle.  OK, so back then I was not a major journalist on keeping good notes on what I tasted.  At least I was making some kind of comment.  So again I thought I would contact the winery and see if anyone could help me gain some more information on the 1990 Vintage.  Bruce Arkley of J. Lohr Winery was kind enough to reply:

 We continue to make our Seven Oaks Cabernet in basically the same style as the 1990 vintage to which you referred in your email, with refinements that we feel have improved the wine quality over time.  That style is fruit forward (cherry, blueberry, etc.) with soft mouth feel but full body.  We have also maintained our commitment to using grapes from our own vineyards to produce a properly barrel aged wine (12 to 18 months with a proven mix of new and used barrels for every vintage).

In the vineyards, we have expanded our acreage to keep up with the increasing sales of our Cabernet.  We also are using what we feel are better Cabernet clones as well as better clones for all of the Bordeaux varieties which are used for blending components.

In the winery, we have improved our extraction technique in fermentation and we manually transport the pomace to the presses, having discontinued screw conveyors.  We continue to refine our barrel selection process (coopers, toast levels, forest selection, toasted heads, mix of American and European oak) to achieve higher quality oak flavor extraction.

We believe that these enhancements we have made over the years will produce a wine that, while in the same style as the 1990 wine to which you referred, will have even more flavor and a richer full body finish.

I want to thank Bruce Arkley from J. Lohr Winery for his input to my project.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

OK folks, another fulfilling addition to my Then & Now wine journal. J. Lohr Winery is still producing the same wine it has for 35 years at such a great price and wonderful taste, what more can I say! 

Please visit their web site for lots of great information. I highly recommend that you pick up a bottle of J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon and see for yourself that wine “Then & Now” can be very interesting! 

What a great way to start the end of your day!

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