“Jerry Lohr was a pioneer in the development of fine wines in Monterey County. He and his family have been producing wines in this region since 1972. In more recent years, they have expanded to include additional vineyards further south on California’s Central Coast. The source of this week’s ‘Pick’ is the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County (an AVA or American Viticultural Area is similar to the appellation definitions in Europe). Fog and other marine influences enter the Salinas Valley from Monterey Bay, traveling east, then following the Valley as it bends to the southeast, helping make this a very cool growing region. Soils here are sandy loam and stones from the Arroyo Seco, sometimes referred to as a ‘river,’ though it’s really more of a seasonal creek.
“The Chardonnay grape can exhibit many personalities, yet all can still be obvious examples of this variety. The 2017 Riverstone Chardonnay is one of several Chardonnay bottlings produced by J.Lohr. It shows a little more color than many young Chardonnay wines. We’d call is a straw or light golden hue. Some California examples are lean and tend toward the acidic side, more come across as lush and creamy. Our Riverstone Chardonnay favors the latter camp. It shows some tropical fruit qualities in the mouth (pineapple, guava, papaya, etc.) , but there are crispy peach and stone fruit aspects, too. This wine experienced some time aging sur lie, which means spending time in a barrel over the spent yeast cells. Sometimes winemakers choose to stir these lees into the wine in a process called battonage. This treatment encourages a richer and more complex flavor, as does spending time in oak.
“Overall, we think this Chardonnay will please a lot of consumers who’ll appreciate its relative richness and complexity. At $14, the 2017 Riverstone Chardonnay punches above its weight.”
Food Affinity: “We’d suggest matching with chicken or fish-based risottos or with richer seafoods such as poached salmon.”