Youthful and bright yellow in color, with aromas of tropical fruits, guava, pineapple and passion fruit, which are enhanced by a bouquet of toasted vanilla, hazelnut and butterscotch from French oak barrel fermentation. The Highlands Bench Chardonnay is fruit intensive, and rich, yet balanced by Santa Lucia Highlands bright acidic structure, making it a perfect match for grilled seafood or fowl, or as a aperitif with triple crème brie cheese.
J. Lohr Highlands Bench Chardonnay comes from the Escolle Road Vineyard, just west of the town of Gonzales in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey. We were invited to partner with a group of friends - Gary Caraccioli, the Nunes and Hiyashi families - in 2006, to establish a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard on Rianda family property. We participated in soil evaluation, vineyard layout and clone and rootstock selection, ultimately choosing the sandiest soils for Chardonnay planting. The clones selected were a Wente clone from Larry Hyde’s vineyard in Carneros, and a Robert Young selection from Sonoma County - both shy bearing, but very flavorful. The close proximity to Monterey Bay, the eastern slope and aspect, and the elevation above the Salinas Valley floor provide a cool, sunny, ideal environment for growing intensely flavored Burgundian varietals.