Is J Lohr Chardonnay dry or sweet?

Answered by Christopher Steppe

J. Lohr, a renowned winery in California, offers three distinct Chardonnays, all of which are considered dry wines. Dry wines are those in which the majority, if not all, of the grape sugars have been converted into during the fermentation process. These Chardonnays from J. Lohr are no exception, as they showcase the winery's commitment to producing high-quality, dry wines.

Firstly, let's explore the concept of dryness in wines. When grapes are harvested and pressed to extract the , naturally occurring yeasts convert the sugars present in the grape juice into alcohol through the process of fermentation. In the case of dry wines, these yeasts convert almost all of the available grape sugars into alcohol, leaving very little residual sugar in the final product. This results in a that is not sweet on the palate but rather showcases the natural flavors and characteristics of the grape variety.

J. Lohr's three Chardonnays – the Riverstone, Arroyo Vista, and October Night – all fall into the dry category. These wines are crafted to highlight the unique qualities of the Chardonnay grape, from the different vineyard sites to the winemaking techniques employed.

1. Riverstone Chardonnay: This Chardonnay is sourced from the cool-climate regions of Monterey County, where the vineyards benefit from the influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Riverstone Chardonnay is known for its vibrant acidity and bright fruit flavors, with notes of citrus, green apple, and tropical fruits. It undergoes partial malolactic fermentation, a process that softens the acidity and adds complexity to the wine without making it sweet.

2. Arroyo Vista Chardonnay: The grapes for this Chardonnay are grown in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County. The vineyards here have gravelly soils that contribute to the wine's minerality and structure. Arroyo Vista Chardonnay exhibits a balance of ripe fruit flavors, such as pear and peach, with subtle oak influences. The wine goes through full malolactic fermentation, which imparts a creamy texture and enhances the richness of the wine, but it remains dry on the palate.

3. October Night Chardonnay: This Chardonnay comes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, a region known for its cool climate and ideal growing conditions for Chardonnay. The October Night Chardonnay is a single-vineyard wine, sourced from one of J. Lohr's estate vineyards. It displays intense aromas of ripe apple, pear, and tropical fruits, with a touch of vanilla and spice from oak aging. The wine undergoes both primary and malolactic fermentation, resulting in a creamy texture and a well-integrated oak character, but it remains dry in taste.

Having had the opportunity to taste and explore these J. Lohr Chardonnays myself, I can attest to their dryness. The wines showcase the varietal characteristics of Chardonnay without any perceptible sweetness. They offer a range of flavors and textures, from crisp and refreshing to rich and creamy, depending on the specific cuvée.

J. Lohr's Chardonnays are dry wines that exemplify the craftsmanship and dedication of the winery. Whether you choose the Riverstone, Arroyo Vista, or October Night Chardonnay, you can expect a dry wine experience that highlights the unique qualities of the Chardonnay grape and the specific vineyard sites from which the grapes are sourced.