The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah sourced mainly from J. Lohr’s 7 Oaks vineyard as well as other estate vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA of the Central Coast AVA in California. J. Lohr is a family-owned winery founded in the Monterey AVA in the early 1970s. In the 1980s they expanded into the Paso Robles AVA (south of Monterey AVA) and have a property in the St. Helena AVA inside of Napa Valley.
I have been a fan of J. Lohr wines for some time, not only because they taste great, but how they go about their business. This may be something that appeals to only me, but in writing the Cheap Wine Finder website I come across a plethora of wine company websites and their corresponding wine technical notes. Most wine company websites, while attractive to the eye, say almost nothing. I think the key is being positive, promote an upscale lifestyle but do not say anything that can turn folks off.
J. Lohr has an attractive website, just like you would expect, but their technical notes go into terrific detail. They compare the growing season to previous vintages and give details on exactly which procedures were used in winemaking that few wine companies bother to tell. I actually learned more about malolactic fermentation from their tech notes than I knew before I read it. Gleaming actual knowledge form a wine website and technical notes are very rare, trust me, I know all too well.
So, what did I learn, well for one there was a heatwave in early September where temperatures hit 115 degrees. This could have been troublesome, but since temps went back to normal and the harvest wasn’t until October the vines had plenty of time to de-stress and the vintage turned out well. I also learned a few things about malolactic fermentation. This Cabernet was fermented in stainless steel tanks, but for malolactic 20% was transferred to small oak barrels. Then Viniflora Oenos (dried bacteria) is added to the wine and that process changes the natural tart acid in the wine to rounded acid.
Almost all Red wines receive this process, but J. Lohr is the first winery to shed a little light on the subject. This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months, 22% new barrels with the rest used barrels. Another first is the tech notes said the oak came from Missouri and Minnesota. When French oak is used it isn’t uncommon to list which French forest the oak came from. American oak is usually mentioned as an afterthought, but not here. I get the impression that J. Lohr is proud of their wines and what went into the making of their wines.
I get it that most wine drinkers do not geek out on the tasting and tech notes as I do. It is just that wineries should be more transparent with their winemaking. Lifestyle marketing is fine, but being more open with their processes would probably lead to better wine. So kudos to J. Lohr. The alcohol content is 14%.
Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes
The color is ripe black cherry red with a clear halo. The nose is subtle and balanced, blackberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, soft spice, black pepper, lightly herbal, with a faint floral edge. This is a sleek, refined Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice stew of flavors. It starts with a mix of extracted blackberry and sweet blueberry, licorice, vanilla, and pepper. The mid-palate offers milk chocolate, orange zest, ripe raspberry, and a slap of Altoid’s spice. The flavors are well-balanced, no one taste overpowers the next. The tannins are sweet and the acidity lets the flavors unfold. Pair this Cabernet Sauvignon with a steak on the grill or drink it on its own. The finish mirrors the body of the wine and has good length.
- The J.Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a very good California Cabernet.
- This is an interesting Cab, it is mass-produced, they make a fair amount of this wine, but the production techniques follow more boutique wines. So, you get some of the best attributes of smaller production wines, but since it is mass-produced you get all this at a very nice price. I think I found it for $12 on sale.
- This is a very sleek and tasty Cabernet Sauvignon.