As the sun sets and early evening approaches California’s wine country, cooling sea breezes sweep the rolling hills and fog begins to settle on the vineyards. This temperate climate makes California ideal for growing grapes; long, sunny days produce fruit with rich, fruity flavours and chilly nights help the grapes retain that all-important acidity, producing wines that are excitingly fruity, yet fresh and crisp.
California produces about 90% of all wine in the United States. The vineyards are scattered throughout the state yet the most famous areas, such as Napa and Sonoma Valleys, are located in the north, along the coast above San Francisco. Here the cooling influence of the ocean and the warmth from nearby valleys produce a near-perfect climate for wine production, suiting a range of grape varieties.
J Lohr Estates
All quality wine production starts in the vineyard, and you can only achieve maximum potential when you own and manage your own vineyards. This is the simple starting block for these excellent wines from J. Lohr. As early as 1972, Jerry Lohr began purchasing vineyards in the cool and wind-swept region of Monterey, south of San Francisco, when his peers were concentrating on other hotter and, at that time, more fashionable regions. Chardonnay was the focus at first, unoaked and sourced from the cool, wind-swept Monterey region and the climate proved ideal, as the wind which whips up from the Monterey Bay area like clockwork during the afternoons cools the vineyards and creates the perfect microclimate for this noble grape. Jerry also became a pioneer of the warmer Paso Robles region, which gives us the wonderfully full, ripe Zinfandel. A new Pinot Noir joins the range for 2011.
Voted ‘American Winery of the Year’ by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2010.
Following a long farming tradition, father and son Warren and Chris Bogle planted the first eight hectares of vines in Clarksburg, California in 1965. Today Bogle Vineyards farms on over 14 different vineyard sites in the cooler parts of the Delta region near Sacramento. This is still a real family business in every sense, Patty took over operation of the winery in 1989, and took production to ever-increasing heights until her sad death in 2011. She is ably suceeded by her son Warren and daughter Jody.
2010 Painter Bridge Chardonnay, J. Lohr
GRAPE VARIETIES: 91% Chardonnay 1% Gewurztraminer 7% Muscat Canelli
Pale yellow in colour with attractive aromas of pear, apple and white flowers, with a touch of vanilla and honey. The aromas are echoed on the silky textured palate, which is cleansed with fresh acidity and richness.
2010 Wildflower, J. Lohr
GRAPE VARIETIES: 100% Valdiguie
A vibrant, red-purple in colour with bright aromas of boysenberry, cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, dominated by boysenberry and raspberry. The luscious fruit and lingering acidity make this wine ideal as an aperitif.
2010 Viognier, Bogle Winery
GRAPE VARIETIES: 99% Viognier
Appetizing display of luscious aromas with fresh apricot and pear fruit tang on the palate. A third of this wine spent 10 months in brand new American oak, barrel fermented and left on its lees. The rest of the blend was fermented in stainless steel tanks
2010 Painter Bridge Zinfandel, J. Lohr
GRAPE VARIETIES: 100% Zinfandel
Great colour density with youthful garnet red hues. The aromas are ripe red fruits of raspberry, black currant and strawberry preserves with black tea, white and black pepper spice. The palate delivers a fruity, plump, yet supple wine with some spicy Zinfandel pepperiness.
2008 Phantom, Bogle Winery
GRAPE VARIETIES: 3% Mourvedre 53% Petit Syrah 44% Zinfandel
Deeply luscious and succulent blackberries, aromas of anise and sweet fig are embraced by
touches of black pepper. Subtle notes of cloves and vanilla emerge and compliment the
concentrated fruit character of the wine.
All of these wines were big bold examples of their grape varieties as one might expect from California! Considering the current performance of the pound against the dollar however, some of our guests were a little disappointed about the price points which ranged from £14.50 to over £28 (retail)