Monday, April 22, 2013

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Little, out-of-the-way restaurants that serve good food are a great find anywhere, but particularly in large cities.  Dining at the latest trendy hotspots in Los Angeles is getting mighty pricey, and the more television shows on which the chef or owner appears, the more it will cost when the check comes.

Little mom-and-pop places are particularly attractive to me for their wine lists.  There always seem to be a wine or two that look very interesting - and they are often priced nicely as well.

On a recent trip to the Westside to see a film at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, we stopped in to an Indian restaurant across the street, Pradeep's.  Good food, good prices, and great spices.  I scanned the wine list, although I find Indian restaurants can usually do a much better job of selecting their wines.

The whites all seemed pretty run-of-the-mill, but the red side offered a Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon that tempted me.  The glass of J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cab is served in the fashion I often find in Indian restaurants, in a tiny glass which is filled to the rim.

The wine's composition is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah and 1% each of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.  After stainless steel fermentation, it is aged in toasted American oak barrels for a year.  The alcohol content is a bit low for Paso - just under 14% abv.

The soil of the Seven Oaks vineyard on the J. Lohr estate is made up primarily of gravelly clay with some limestone-based soil.  According to the winery website, 2010 was the coolest vintage in Paso Robles in ten years, with winter rain about 50% above normal.  The winery stopped irrigation of the vineyard in mid-June, expecting a three to five week period before starting the water again.  As it turned out, their vines didn't start to struggle for two months.  They credit this strategy with adding intensity to the flavor profile of this blend of mainly Bordeaux varieties.

It's a deep, dark red color with a nose that's rich with fruit.  The cherry and raspberry flavors are indeed quite intense.  The palate is fruit forward with a mocha note edging its way into the scene. Minerals are very noticeable, the tannins are nice but not in the way and a lingering flavor of mint colors the finish.

Is it good with Indian food?  Nice, because the oak treatment isn't monstrous and the tannins aren't extremely sharp.  The wine settles in very well with the spices of the alu gobi.  The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cab is $9.50 by the glass at Pradeep's and is listed by the winery at a retail price of $17.

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