Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet

This week’s featured wine literally made me sit up straighter in my chair after my first taste. I looked at the bottle, took another sip, and thought “did I open an expensive bottle by mistake?

As readers of this blog know, I am always searching for affordable wines with exceptional taste, and this wine has both – in spades. True story: after I tried the 2017 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon I immediately checked my wine rack to see if I had bought any more bottles. Sadly, I did not, so on the way to work this morning, I went back to the store and picked up more. (Better safe than sorry!)

A few years back I was lucky to attend a special J. Lohr wine tasting with Lawrence Lohr (right), who talked to me about his family’s wine tradition, and the care that goes into each bottle. J. Lohr is based in Paso Robles, a southern California wine region populated with many oak trees (the name translated means “Oak Pass.”) Not only is it California’s fastest growing AVA, it is also considered the “wild west,” so-called because it was co-founded in 1869 by Kentucky outlaws Frank and Jesse James’ uncle Drury! Despite this outlaw reputation, the Paso Robles wines we sampled that evening were spectacular. These were J. Lohr’s top-of-the-line wines, and considering the price point, you expect really good wine. With entry-level wines, achieving that taste is more difficult, because of the sheer quantity of wine being produced. The J. Lohr Seven Oaks label has always been decent wine, but the 2017 is exceptional. How good? Some advice: Run, don’t walk, to your nearest wine store and seek this wine out – it’s delicious!

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the 2017 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is big plum and blackberry aromas, which I love. Happily, the nose equals the taste: plum and blackberry flavors mingle with blueberry and hints of bittersweet chocolate, and a long dry finish with more blackberry, toasty oak and vanilla. This is a very bold, full-bodied wine with grip: ripe tannins, well-balanced, and impossibly priced at around $15.

On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2017 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet gets 4.25 corks. Wine Enthusiast also rates it a “Best Buy” at 90 points. This is a blockbuster wine at an incredible price.

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party! I host a wine dinner every month (excepting the Holidays), and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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