J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon (375ML half-bottle) 2019
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As we taste J. Lohr’s flagship wine year after year, we notice that it continues to grow in terms of mouthfeel, plushness, and strength of character. The 2019 vintage has a je ne sais quoi that’s partly explained by red winemaker Brenden Wood’s blending practices. Prior vintages incorporated Petit Verdot and Malbec, but this one gives voice to Cabernet Sauvignon at 99%. Mocha and sandalwood are a driving force on the broad, dense palate. Blackberry, Worcestershire sauce, and wet earth work in tandem to bring out a savory character and textural depth.
This is one of the more widely available Cabs in American restaurants, and yet manages to be thoroughly enjoyable despite the large production amounts. Blackberry, violet, warm fudge and loamy soil aromas kick off the nose, and then the palate is enveloped in polished yet expansive tannins. Flavors of black currant, vanilla and anise float through the sip. Editors’ Choice.
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.
As Paso Robles, California has soared in number of wineries and gained in popularity, Cabernet Sauvignon has firmly taken root as the region’s number one varietal. Alone, it accounts for just over 40% of plantings and is grown throughout both the western and eastern sides of the appellation. Though viticulture here dates back to the 18th century, Cabernet Sauvignon didn’t emerge as a significant grape here until the 1970’s. But since then it has definitely made up for lost time.
Legendary winemaker and consultant Andre Tchelistcheff first recognized Paso’s potential with Cabernet Sauvignon in the early 1960’s. The calcareous soil and dramatic diurnal temperature changes of Paso’s westside particularly intrigued him. Today modern winemaking techniques and focused experimentation with various clones, rootstocks and vineyard strategies optimize the region's ideal combination of soil and climate to deliver the best fruit possible.
The results are evident in the glass. Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon can be mesmerizing, with rich aromas and flavors of blackberry, cassis, black cherry, graphite, toasty oak, vanilla and spice. The structure, balance and unbridled opulence of these wines impress from first sip to last. Not surprisingly, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignons have steadily grown in reputation, not just in the U.S., but around the world.