J. Lohr 2013 Paso Robles Signature Cabernet Sauvignon

J. Lohr has long been one of the standard bearer wineries of Paso Robles. Their portfolio includes wines that are readily available and priced for everyday consumption, more premium selections such as reserves as well as some single vineyard bottles. In short a it's diverse set of offerings that gives consumers a multitude of options.

On New Year’s Day, founder Jerry Lohr turned 80 years old. To celebrate this milestone they released their most ambitious expression of Cabernet Sauvignon yet, “Signature.” Paso Robles most aspiring producers have been edging the quality level forward for a number of years now and what wouldn’t have been possible there some years back is achievable today. Their stated goal with this wine is not only to mark Jerry’s 80th, but also to release a Cabernet Sauvignon that can compete with the best in the world. To do so they harnessed every bit of knowledge they’ve gleaned since the Winery’s inception.

J. Lohr 2013 Paso Robles Signature Cabernet Sauvignon ($100)

In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (79%), “Signature” contains small amounts of Merlot (18%), and Petit Verdot (3%). The Cabernet came from Beck vineyard which sits at an elevation of 1,800 feet. Barrel aging took place over 19 months in new French oak. 966 six-bottle cases were produced. Black raspberry and wisps of toast are evident on the nose. The palate is dominated by a veritable avalanche of intense, but wholly proportionate, dark fruit flavors. Black cherry, raspberry, and blackberry are of particular note. A host of spices such as black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg are evident as well. Roasted espresso, chicory and bits of sweet dark chocolate are evident on the prodigiously long and intensely layered finish. Firm tannins and racy acid provide great framework. This Cabernet is delicious today, particularly with full flavored foods. Patience will be rewarded however. It’ll evolve nicely over the next decade and drink well for 8-10 years beyond that.

This super luxury wine from J. Lohr meets all of its goals. “Signature” is a perfect way to commemorate Jerry Lohr’s 80th Birthday. The level of excellence in this bottle really drops the gauntlet of quality and shows what can be accomplished in Paso Robles with Cabernet Sauvignon. It compares favorably to some of the very best Cabernet based wines that California has to offer. That said it’s a distinctly Paso Robles wine. What I personally like most about “signature” is the combination of power and elegance that’s evident from the first whiff to the very last sips. If you love great California Cabernet Sauvignon, put "Signature" on your short list as a must try.