I was just in the mood for a Cab. That mood doesn’t strike me often, so when it does I want something deliciously reliable. Luckily I had just received a shipment of new releases from J. Lohr that included their Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon. Done deal.
P.S. I didn’t pair this wine with a burger (though that’s a fab idea). I actually paired it with a pizza (also a fab idea—especially if you like a bit of peppery heat on your pie.)
About the Wine: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon; 8% Petite Sirah; 5% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; 1% Syrah
Appellation: Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA
About the Vineyard: (From the winery) The predominant source for our J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is our estate vineyards located directly opposite our J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center and at two newer sites just to the north at the J. Lohr Sinclair and J. Lohr Jones Ranches. The Seven Oaks vineyard was initially planted on its own rootstock, utilizing some of the original plantings from indigenous Estrella clones widely planted in Paso Robles. The soils in our vineyards vary from gravelly clay loam to limestone-based soils over a relatively small parcel of land, and various rootstock and clonal combinations have been used to maximize the expression of each individual site. The different soil types and planting combinations add to the palate of Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fermentation: Fermented in stainless steel tanks, with peak temperatures reaching 95°F
Malolactic: Malolactic fermentation, using Viniflora Oenos, was completed in 20% new American oak barrels, with the balance in stainless steel
Maturation: 12 months aging in 60-gallon American oak barrels, 22% new
Barrel type: Predominantly Missouri and Minnesota oak with toasted heads
Appearance: pale ruby
Aroma: Pronounced aromas of black cherry, chocolate, vanilla, black currant, cassis, bramble, blackberry, anise, black pepper, cardamom, and charred wood.
Palate: The palate is dry with medium alcohol, high acidity, medium (+) tannins, medium (+) body, and a long finish. The flavor profile is pronounced, incorporating the aromas sensed on the nose, adding to it hints of leather and game, mocha or coffee, as well as some spicey notes.
Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I determined that this wine is Outstanding. It is well balanced: the high level of acidity keeps the fresher fruits flavors and aromas (of which there are several) vibrant from start to finish. And it is those fresh fruits that linger in the back of the palate during the long finish. The use of American oak here shows itself in those delicate spice notes that pop up around mid-palate. I also found the tannins, though clearly present, to be soft and plushy, well-integrated into the wine and providing an extra level of body and a wonderful mouthfeel. The wine also shows complexity: I found just the slightest hint of tertiary notes (leather, game) that indicates to me that this wine is certainly capable of aging further in the bottle.
More Info: I received the J. Lohr 2018 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon as a sample. (Cheers!) Price: $17. (I think that’s a real steal for the depth and complexity this wine shows at this young age.) For more information about J. Lohr, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the J. Lohr website.
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