VINTAGE: Thanks to a “Miracle March,” the 2018 growing season will be remembered as the fourth in a string of normal rainfall years in Paso Robles. Over 70% of the season’s rainfall was accumulated in a 3-week period, which kicked off a vintage of exceptional quality and yield. A nice stretch of warm weather in May assured a good bloom and fruit set on the developing clusters. This was followed by an unprecedented 46-day heat spell beginning in early July. The result was an extended growing season, as vines slowed photosynthesis as a defense against the high temperatures.
VINEYARDS: The 2018 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is primarily sourced from the relatively cool El Pomar District sub AVA in Paso Robles, where the J. Lohr Shotwell Vineyard is located. A lesser amount is from the J. Lohr Beck Vineyard, located at a 1,700-foot elevation in the Creston District. The blend also utilizes a collection of other small sites in the Paso Robles AVA. Blessed with long summer days of intense sunshine, our near 100°F daytime temperatures are followed by chilly, ocean-cooled nights in the 50s. These Cabernet vines are naturally stressed in the dry, often very gravelly, and sometimes lime shale-laden soils. Water is at a premium in these vineyards, enabling the viticulturist to fine-tune irrigation, resulting in the darkest possible fruit with resolved tannins year after year.