J. Lohr Hilltop Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2014

Inky, deep ruby-purple color; dark, brambly fruits, blackberry, blackcurrant, violets, spice on the nose; red and black currant tang, black cherry, chocolate, plum on the palate.

J. Lohr Hilltop Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2014

Dry; dense in the mouth; soft with reserved tannin; nice acidity for cab (3.6 pH); very smooth and polished as it evolves. A gentleman’s (or gentlewoman’s) rich, refined pour. Plenty of fruit without getting jammy. Nicely employed oak—French oak with very tight grain, 60% new for 18 months in 225 liter barrels (barriques). Full malolactic fermentation generates subtleness and softness. Decanting improves smoothness and palate pleasuring.

The Paso Robles AVA is famous for its scorching hot days—100 degrees plus is no problem—that develop vivid fruit. Also for its dramatic night plunges—50 degrees or more, among the sharpest differences in the wine world—to encourage balancing acidity. This bottle is example of what that terroir/climate can deliver. Great fruit, nice acidity. It simply is delicious wine that almost anyone can enjoy. The tannins do not suck every water molecule out of your cheeks; the 14.8% ABV is not hot on the finish; superbly smooth and polished in the mouth.

Blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 6% petit verdot, 4% cabernet franc. Extremely nice effort for the price, an example of why Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area) is a rising star in the wine world.

In the late 1960s, Jerry Lohr recognized the California Central Coast, and Paso Robles in particular, had all it took to become one of the world’s world-class wine regions. His vision has proved accurate for both his wine operation and for Paso Robles as a whole.

Today, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines includes more than 2,300 acres in Paso Robles dedicated to cab, merlot, syrah, petite sirah and other red varieties, more than 1,300 acres of cool-climate estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands regions of Monterey County with an emphasis on chardonnay, riesling, valdiguié, and pinot noir, and 33 acres in Napa Valley, highlighting cab and sauv blanc.

The second Lohr generation leads the effort today. Chairman Steve Lohr is responsible for the overall management and strategic planning of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. Cynthia Lohr spearheads corporate and product visibility as vice president of marketing, and Lawrence Lohr advocates for wine appreciation as director of wine education. Jeff Meier, with J. Lohr for more than three decades, is the director of winemaking.

J. Lohr Hilltop Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2014 is superb cab, an example of how Paso Robles can run with the Napa and Sonoma stallions at fractions of their prices. Great QPR (quality-price ratio). This cries out for pairing with ribeye or other marbled steak and roasted potatoes. $28-29

J. Lohr website

Steve Lohr (left), Jerry Lohr, Jeff Meier

Jerry Lohr and Cynthia Lohr

J. Lohr Winery, Paso Robles