Local winemakers have long considered the cooler El Pomar District within the Paso Robles AVA to be an ideal region for Merlot. This limited release was sourced from Block 5 of our Creston Vineyard there. The planting material was an Italian selection of Merlot propagated from cuttings of the Rauscedo 3 clone donated by the Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo in Northern Italy to Foundation Plant Services at the University of California, Davis. This 5-acre hillside block features calcareous outcroppings and consistently produces the most remarkable Merlot in the J. Lohr portfolio.
Thanks to a “Miracle March,” the 2018 Paso Robles growing season reached normal rainfall levels with over 70% of the precipitation accumulated in a 3-week period. This kicked off a vintage of exceptional quality and yield. A stretch of warm weather in May assured a good fruit set in the vineyard. This was followed by an unprecedented 46-day heat spell, which began after the 4th of July holiday. This effectively delayed ripening as the vines ‘shuttered’ in lieu of opening up to photosynthesize. We harvested in the early morning hours of November 2nd, which is the latest harvest date on record for this block. Made in our small-lot winery in Paso Robles, the fruit was destemmed and fermented as whole berries in an open- top tank before aging in French oak barrels for 18 months.