J. Lohr keeps raising the bar

Family-owned wine business all about consistency

WINE PROWESS J. Lohr’s 2018 sauvignon blanc is made from F&G Vineyard in Arroyo Seco. Photo courtesy of J. Lohr

Jerry Lohr recently celebrated 45 years as the head of a 100 percent family-owned wine business that eschews outside investors. His children are all involved, also a rarity. Daughter Cynthia Lohr was just named chief brand officer. Consistency, quality, varietal typicity and affordability make J. Lohr wines an unbeatable value.

Under the guidance of winemaker Kristen Barnhisel, the whites get more impressive with each vintage. Her 2018 Riverstone Arroyo Seco chardonnay ($14), sings of its chilly provenance with sage, honey and coriander. Director of Winemaking Steve Peck’s 2018 Falcon’s Perch Monterey pinot noir ($17), is an earthy, silky wine, brimming with strawberries and satisfaction.

Two wines from the F&G Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, a cool and windy site known for its cobblestones, really spotlight Barnhisel’s white wine prowess. The 2018 sauvignon blanc ($25) is the perfect marriage of passionfruit, grapefruit, Meyer lemon and kiwi, with a subtle touch of fennel from acacia barrels, a secret ingredient in their sauvignon blancs. The 2018 F&G pinot blanc ($35) is just lovely, carrying ripe apple, pear and melon on a dreamy creamy palate.

Fans of megabig cabernet sauvignon will gravitate to the new “Pure Paso” blend ($27). Made by head red winemaker Brenden Wood, it’s endowed with blackfruited ripeness from Paso cabernet, then supersized by the addition of petite sirah, the velvet underground that gives so many blends plushness, depth and a finish of chocolate fudge.

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Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.