The J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 is a sustainably farmed wine from J Lohr Estate, family-owned vineyards, and winery in operation since the 1970s. This Chardonnay is sourced from their estate Arroyo Seco vineyards. They have been making the Riverstone Chardonnay for over 30 years.
The Arroyo Seco AVA is located in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains not far from Monterey Bay. The name Arroyo Seco means dry riverbed and leftover ancient river rocks gibe this Chardonnay its name. The climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean with daytime temps in the 80s, much cooler nights, and morning fog.
I found the J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 at Target selling for $11.99 and though it is an affordable wine it has production details of more expensive wine. I am used to writing about store brand wines where almost no details are offered about the making of the wine, here J Lohr is generous with their information.
This J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 is a blend of 9 Chardonnay clones, each clone has slightly different characteristics, so this Chard has complexity built-in. This wine is oak barrel fermented instead of the typical stainless steel vat. The wine was then aged for 7 to 10 months in a variety of oak barrels, using new barrels to 5th use barrels.
Every time an oak barrel is used in the aging process it loses some ability to impart flavor into the wine, by the 5th use the barrel is considered neutral. A neutral barrel is used since barrel-aged wine tastes different from stainless steel aged wine. It is all about what the winemaker is looking for. They used American, French, and Hungarian oak, French and Hungarian oak is the same species grown in different locations, the American oak is a different species.
The J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 had 50% of the barrels undergo malolactic fermentation, so this wine has the flavors from wine that had malolactic fermentation and wine that did not. This Chardonnay was aged “on-lees” meaning that the dead yeast was kept in the barrel with the wine. The wine was stirred weekly, the more you stir the lees the creamier the wine gets.
So, we have an estate wine from a family-owned wine operation, with a unique selection of Chardonnay clones, along with a great deal of oak barrel fermentation and aging all for a very affordable price. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear, shiny wheat yellow. The nose is green apple, pear, lime, peach, pineapple, lemon, melon, tangerine, a hint of honey, and a floral edge. The J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 is sleek and complex with a mix of smooth and tart flavors.
This Chardonnay tastes like green apple and lemon, there is light creamy butter (not too much) and vanilla, guava, pear, and lime. The mid-palate shows that salty/nutty “on-lees” sensation, orange blossom honey, unsweetened pineapple, nectarine, and pink grapefruit. The acidity is very well-balanced, the flavors have plenty of structure to help them unfold.
- The J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 is a Chardonnay that can stand on its own.
- At CWF we try Chardonnay wines that are tasty, but somewhat generic.
- There is no mistaking the J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2019 it is one of a kind and that is very high praise for a $11.99 wine.