Like The Corners Of My Mind …

Memories, that is.  Yeah, I’m referencing the theme song from an old Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford movie (1973).  Why?  First, it won the Oscar for best song.  Second, it’s apropos because …

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon holds a special place along my journey in wine.  See, I remember several years ago — no, not 1973 — when my wine mentors were telling me about red wines that had flavors of cocoa and chocolate in them.  As a neophyte at the time, I didn’t really believe them.  I mean, I listened, nodded, and made appropriately excited and amazed rejoinders to keep them sharing their knowledge with me.  But deep in my heart of hearts, I just didn’t buy it – not completely. After all, I hadn’t as yet tasted a wine that had such a non-grapey flavor.  Until, that is, I popped the cork on a bottle of a J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.  I don’t remember the exact vintage.  I want to say it was 1992 which, as folks know, was a pretty good year for California Cabs.  I can’t be absolutely certain because I wasn’t recording tasting notes, so it’s all just misty water-colored memories.

Anyway, I do remember the experience.  I took my first sip and let it run the palate.  “Wait,” I thought, “What was that?”  I took another sip.  Holy cow!  It was there!  It wasn’t a heavy-handed one-note thing, but there was a definite chocolatey flavor.  Those tall tales of wines from my friends’ pasts – they were true!  It was a moment that made me realize I needed to be just a bit more open-minded about the kinds of flavors vintners could coax out of grapes.

They say you can never go back, and in many ways that’s true.  Certainly, I don’t expect every vintage of a wine to taste exactly like the previous.  Part of what I enjoy about exploring wines is that changes in the weather or changes in the wine-making process can produce noticeable and notable differences in the final result.  Thus, not expecting to repeat my previous experience, I recently popped the cork on another bottle of J. Lohr’s Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles to see what was in store this time around.

Winemaker:  J. Lohr
Wine: Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2011
Appellation: Paso Robles, California
Price: $19.98

Notes:  Color on pour was very purple; in the glass it was a deep red plum.  The bouquet was really very enjoyable with loads of barnyard (sous bois), tangy plum, earth and a touch of cedar.  Acidity was high and the body was on the lighter side of medium.  Alcohol was at 13.5%, and I’d say the tannins were in the medium range.  On the palate I tasted lots of plum, oak, black pepper, coffee grounds, a little tar and some green bell pepper.  It was pretty good.  As you may know, I focus on inexpensive wines on this blog with a splurge here and there.  This was a splurge but not a very big one since I snagged it on sale for $13.99.  I think this would be a nice compliment to just about any beef or game dish.  It isn’t so expensive that you shouldn’t serve it with a casual meal, but it could also do fine with a juicy steak.

Advertisements

J Lohr Riesling 2011

This time I went with a California Riesling.

Winemaker:  J Lohr
Wine:  Bay Mist White Riesling
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Monterey County, California
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  Interestingly, this wine is a blend of 92% White Riesling, 6% Gewurztraminer and 2% Orange Muscat.  It was a pale yellow in the glass, and I got scents of apple and citrus in the bouquet.  On the palate the wine has a very light effervescence.  Flavors for me were primarily apple and lime with peach notes.  There was grass on the finish and some light hints of spice as well.  Alcohol is at 13.1% – dry by comparison with most Rieslings.  Acidity seemed fine but not as bright as with others I’ve had.  Overall, it’s a pleasant wine.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.