Restrained feel - bursting with flavour and depth - but never over-blown. Layne sources this fruit from high vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley, which he tells us are not easy to work - but really pay back the hard graft! Adding some Viognier and co-fermenting it with the Syrah this is a lovely Californian interpretation of the Northern Rhone classics of Cote-Rotie. More weight and gloss than many of these old world examples - but still deliciously energetic on the palate. Blackberry compote and red fruits play well with wood spice and black pepper spice. This really impressed us, well measured and joyful. L&S (Aug 2019)
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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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