The 2020 growing season was characterized by a cool spring in the Arroyo Seco. Cool, foggy mornings and evenings, with summer daytime highs in the 80s, provided optimum weather for ripening Chardonnay. The moderate temperatures and characteristic afternoon winds provided slow ripening, resulting in extra time on the vine needed to optimize flavors and textures. Harvest began with an early pick on September 21st, with the remainder picked from October 6th to November 5th. Our 2020 Riverstone Chardonnay features the debut of a newly planted “Mt. Eden” clone. Originating in the late 19th century in the Santa Cruz mountains, the Mt. Eden clone is known for its tight clusters and concentrated fruit expression. With this addition, the Riverstone Chardonnay is now comprised of ten Chardonnay clones - 4, 5, 17, 76, 95, 96, 548, 809, Hyde-Wente, and Mt. Eden - each one adding to the complexity of flavors and textures found in the final blend.
The vines for our J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay are grown primarily on Elder loam soils underlain by “riverstones” deposited over thousands of years by the Arroyo Seco River. These stones limit soil depth from one to four feet, although some roots are found at greater depths. This unique combination of sandy loam and cobblestones keeps the vines’ growth and fruit in balance, while the cool climate and winds of the Salinas Valley extend the growing season - retaining the natural grape acids and intense varietal character of Chardonnay.