The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2017

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Y 62  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2017 ou'd be hard pressed to find someone in this industry who has not heard of, or tasted, wines from J. Lohr. Jerry Lohr, the celebrated founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, launched his namesake brand in 1972 with his first plantings in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County. Since then, his tireless efforts have gener- ated global attention for Arroyo Seco (established as an official AVA in 1983) and Central Coast wines in general, elevating the awareness of both the Monterey and Paso Robles winegrow- ing regions. Lohr grew up on a farm in South Dakota before moving to California to pursue his Master's degree in civil engineering at Stanford University. Always a farmer at heart, he transi- tioned from a career building custom homes in the San Francisco Bay Area to wine-grape growing. He had learned on the farm that a crop must be properly matched to its environment. So when his initial efforts to grow Bordelais grapes in Monterey proved disappointing, he sought out new regions better suited for these heat- loving varieties. Lohr and his winemaker enjoyed the fruit profile and softer tannins found in the Cabernet Sauvignons they tried from Paso Robles. One of those wines was sourced from the Kluckur Vineyard and made by local legend John Munch. Lohr purchased the neighboring ranch and, in 1988, planted Seven Oaks and Hilltop Vineyards (aka the Home Ranch). Since then, the J. Lohr team has planted more than 20 vineyards that stretch across four of the 11 Paso Robles sub-appellations. Their drive? To produce exceptional-quality, estate- grown Cabernet Sauvignon for every tier, regardless of price. "When you're selling a $15 to $20 bottle of Cabernet, people wonder where those grapes came from," explains J. Lohr's winemaker for red When leaving for a weekend trip, Steve Carter received a call a former profes- sor. He said he was in a meeting with "'this fella named Jerry Lohr who says he needs a viticulturist. You should give him a call.' I told him I was leaving for Paso in 30 minutes," Carter remembers. He adds, "It was meant to be." The view overlooking Gene Ranch in the northwestern corner of the Adelaida District. PASO

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