The Layne Vineyard in Applegate Valley was established when only crazy people did a crazy thing like plant a vineyard down there. But in 1975, that's what Roger Layne was doing. One of the region's original sites, the Layne Vineyard is the prized source for one of our favorite wines. While we work with a number of varietals from this rugged, high-elevation site 1,600 feet up on Kubli Bench, the Tannat is perhaps our pride and joy.
The vineyard lies a couple miles down a single-lane, dirt road hemmed by shallow ravines on either side most of the way, with manzanita and madrone branches scraping the truck windows. In other words, you have to really want to come out here. A walk through the rows reveals signs of the apex predators (mountain lion and black bear) that frequent the vineyard, and it becomes apparent just what kind of place this is. Many of the vines are on original Vinifera rootstock from the 1975 planting, having long since established themselves deep into the granitic bedrock. The well-draining alluvial topsoils really make their mark on the fruit, while careful crop management, good ventilation, and dramatic daily temperature swings all help the fruit reach full ripeness.