J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is dedicated to producing flavorful wines that are the finest examples of quality and flavor from our given appellations. We are committed to honesty, excellence and service, with a respect for our employees, suppliers, customers, and the long-term health of our company and the environment.
Since 1997, Tantara has been dedicated to producing the very finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Located on the beautiful Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County), our wines are sourced from top Central Coast growers and vineyard designate from vineyards such as Bien Nacido, Dierberg, Solomon Hills, Sanford & Benedict, Rio Vista, Talley Rincon, La Colline (Laetitia), Silacci, Pisoni, Garys', and Brosseau.
In addition to our two acres of Bien Nacido G Block Pinot Noir, in 1999 we planted ten acres of Pinot Noir and two acres of Syrah which will bring our own vineyard holding to about fourteen acres when these new plantings come online in 2005. This fruit will then make up our estate bottling.
Because of our commitment to detail and the finite amount of fruit that meets our standards, total winery production remains small.
California's Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Monterey is blessed with ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A long growing season with abundant sunshine for sugar production but enough cool nights and foggy mornings for color extraction and complex flavors, gives us the opportunity to work with some of the best fruit in the world. It is our goal that this bounty of nature be transformed into great wine.
For Pinot Noir, the fruit is de-stemmed and fermented in open top vats. We use both native yeasts and prepared yeast culture to add complexity. Punch down is by traditional methods. After the primary fermentation, the wine is pressed and put into French Oak barrels where it undergoes a secondary or malolactic fermentation. The wine is racked after ML is complete and left undisturbed until it is assembled and bottled, unfined and unfiltered. We believe this style of winemaking lets the fruit achieve its full potential, giving wine that is seductive in the short term, while allowing the development of aromatic and flavor complexities with bottle age.
For Chardonnay, the fruit is whole cluster pressed, the juice settled then put into French Oak barrels. Both primary and malolactic fermentation occur in barrel. The lees are stirred occasionally until ML is finished, then the wine rests sur lie (on its lees) for 10 - 12 months until it is bottled. The style of winemaking we employ for Chardonnay creates enough forward fruit to make it accessible upon release, but with a structure that allows it to improve and gain complexity in the bottle.
Tantara was the name of a horse owned by Bill Cates some years ago. After Tantara was retired to pasture, she defied predictions of an imminent demise and lived to a ripe old age. Horses symbolize elegance, grace and power and in Tantara's case, long life, all of which are qualities we embrace for our wine.
Friends for over twenty years, Jeffrey Fink, an architect and Bill Cates, were both orignally from Virginia. They converged in California on a mission: to transform noble fruit into world class wine and have a good time doing it.