Again Layne sources the fruit for this cuvée from as far east as he can, as he loves the cool air and the ocean's influence on the grapes. These grapes come from the Mokelumne River sub-district of Lodi, as close to the Delta as you can get and still be able to grow grapes. This proximity to the sea and the cooling breezes makes a huge difference here in Lodi and you can really sense it in the m2 wines. This is what Layne calls his 'Tuesday night wine' - an easy going bright expression of Zinfandel. He is right - this is really attractive, more pep and brightness than so many - it has less stuffing perhaps but this is what makes it so very drinkable. Dive into this gem any night of the week, there is great weight and flow, it is simply great fun to drink. L&S (Aug 2016)
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A clear and uplifting view of both Zinfandel and Lodi, this wine is full of delightfully pure blackberries and Morello cherries keenly supported by mouthwatering acidity. Drinking range: 2017 - 2020 Rating: 91 Decanter Magazine (Jul 2017)
Sweet, ripe, spicy Zinfandel fruit but with a verve and radiance that make this so much brighter and breezier than the average Zin. The fruit is from three vineyards ranging in age from 30 to 99 years and the wine is aged in 'mostly neutral' American oak, which adds a harmonious coffeeish note. Rating: 89 www.thewinegang.com (Dec 2016)
Layne Montgomery is a charming, colourful character and a very talented winemaker. Self-taught he started this fantastic project in 2004, creating dynamic, artisanal wines from distinctive vineyards on the West side of Lodi, California.
Some vines are now over 100 years old, which is remarkable for this oft forgotten part of the wine world. He eschews French oak for American oak. 'French oak is too delicate, he says. 'It's like putting lipstick on John Wayne'.
The wines have simply got better and better as Layne has honed his craft and he is now making stand out wines for the region. When we met him on a balmy August night amongst the vines of Lodi we were immediately enchanted by his stunning wines and amusing, outspoken character. These are wines with personality and a refined sense of place.
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