J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2020
The J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay exhibits youthful hues of light straw. The enticing aromas are reminiscent of ripe orange, fresh nectarine, and hazelnut, which are complemented by the palate flavors of apricot, ripe peach, and honey. The rich texture and balance on the palate from aging sur lie gives way to flavors of vanilla, citrus cream, and a hint of oak on the long finish.
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Stones deposited by the Arroyo Seco River influence the vines’ growth in this cool growing area, limiting soil depth. The Mt. Eden Clone, known for tight clusters and concentrated fruit, makes its debut in this vintage, which was barrel-fermented and hand-stirred weekly for seven to nine months in American, Hungarian, and French oak—resulting in stunning clarity on the palate. Accented by perky acidity, earthiness strikes a chord with notes of fresh peach and tangerine. Vanilla nougat leaves a splash of texture on the toasty finish.
This widely available wine is worth stocking for midweek enjoyment. Light aromas of lemon, honey, nectarine and crushed white rock lead into a palate of baked apple and lemon juice, all framed by a chalky structure. Best Buy
For two generations, the Lohr family and their team have been leaders in California winegrowing. Founder Jerry Lohr and his three children Steve, Cynthia, and Lawrence oversee one of the country’s most successful and trusted fine wine labels. With first plantings in Monterey in 1972 and then in Paso Robles in 1986, the J. Lohr team helped write the book on sustainable winegrowing on the Central Coast.
Today, J. Lohr farms more than 4,000 acres of estate vineyards in Monterey’s Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations, Paso Robles, and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines produces eight tiers of award-winning releases: J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, J. Lohr Cuvée Series, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Gesture, J. Lohr Pure Paso Proprietary Red Wine, J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Monterey Roots, and ARIEL Vineyards. J. Lohr was honored with the 2020 Green Medal Leader Award in recognition of the company’s decades-long commitment to sustainability.
Named after the dramatic, seasonal river of rain and snowmelt that cuts through the upper elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the Arroyo Seco AVA extends east from the resultant mountain gorge, and into the rural and warm Salinas Valley. During the growing season, cool and damp Pacific Ocean air penetrates the gorge and flows into the valley, creating a cool evening respite for vineyards after a hot summer day. This natural water-release has also created a subterranean aquifer, which helps set the foundation of the AVA's boundaries and supplies the vineyards with water.
Arroyo Seco was actually home to the first commercial vineyard in California, called Mission Ranch, which was owned and propogated by the Mirassou family in the 1960s.
Arroyo Seco is one of the oldest AVAs in California, its status granted in the early 1980s, and also remains one of its smallest.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.