Shocking clear purple-pink in the glass, a nose glowing with flowery bits and acidic wonder quite unusual to most California wines–CERTAINLY at this price-point. This is my first foray into the new screen-print label, which isn’t as *classic* as sticks-in-the-mud like me would prefer, but not judging. Also happy to see “Arroyo Seco” back on the front, as several vintages have dabbled with straight “Monterey” for marketing sense of place. It’s funny: when I wax poetic about this bottle, shallow people always look for the *smoking gun* of beauty, like the nose on a beautiful Cabernet; the finish of a sumptuous Pinot; the stellar Chardonnay extravagance in the middle of ridiculous Chablis. You’re not going to find that here. That’s really not what compels me in this wine: it’s rather a *sum of all parts* creating near-perfection, curiosity and deliciousness. Raspy and Northern-Rhone, graphite of Cru-Bojo and Village Burg, the incessant compulsion and old-vine instincts of early California, the clean-ness of the natural wine movement: a WINE DRINKER’S wine, through-and-through.
It hits the mouth like a cheap wine: I’m going to give you that. Flush with bright, unassuming berry and briar, it immediately takes a turn down grating, acidic halls where smooth un-complication brings low-key extravagance. The fruit a tart pie-cherry; the core calm, cool and forgiving; the finish an acerbic Vit. C dryness perfectly composed into the fruit, never pushing any one-or-another factor aside for expressions of exuberance. But exuberant it is, and while I constantly *judge-until-proven-innocent*, always expecting–from experience–these labels to ‘sell out’ to the cloying stupidity class, this bottle glows with EVERYTHING I have adored about this wine for decades.
2021 J. LOHR ‘Wildflower’ Valdiguie Arroyo Seco Monterey Co. California 12.5