Chris Matheny and Layne Montgomery
M2 Wines got it's name from the first letter in two gentlemen last name, Layne Montgomery and Chris Matheny. The two of them met in 1999 and in 2000 they started making wine as amateurs. In 2004 it was time to go commercial and since 2006 they have their own winery in Lodi. M2 does not own their own vineyards but buys grapes from premium vineyards throughout California. That way they can source the different varietals from the areas where they express the best characteristics.
Chris explained to me that their goal as winemakers are to intervene as little as possible to let the vineyards and grapes express themselves in the wine, showing the essence of the location and the grape varietal. Getting there they use only the highest quality yeast, barrels, etc. Another amazing fact that only proves their commitment to producing great wine is that they actually punch down the cap 2-3 times per day. Far from always the case at many wineries...
On to the tasting:
The 2004 Dos Arkies California Red Wine (named after the fact that they are two guys from Arkansas) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Great blend for $18 that is a tad bit low in complexity but easy and pleasing to drink. Red cherry, black berry, and blue berry dominates on the nose. The palate offers red cherry, black currant, some spiciness from black pepper, and smokey oak. Great value for this medium bodied wine that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
The 2005 Singularity Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley($35) is a Cabernet Sauvignon blended with a small amount of Syrah and Petite Sirah. Did not take any tasting notes on this one as I was preoccupied talking to Chris... I do remember that I liked it...
Next up was the 2005 Duality Red Wine Sierra Foothills ($20). A blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah. Again, talking to much with Chris but I do remember the strong impression of the dried, smoked meat and dark berries that hit you big time on the nose. The palate again carried that dark fruit and berries along with mouth puckering firm, high tannins . Big wine, big tannins! This one demands a good BBQ!
The 2005 Row 23 Herzog Vineyard Clarksburg Petite Sirah ($28) was poured next. This wine offered floral/perfume on the nose with dark berries. On the palate vivid, round dark fruit and berries again, with smooth, round tannins. Different at that point from the previous wines that all had more edgy, firm tannins.
The last wine was a surprise as it was not on the tasting list. Chris had pulled a barrel sample that morning from the 2006 Clone 6 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (3-pack for $120) and poured is as a future. This one made me really excited. Only 175 cases produced this will be bottled in March and released in October next year. Straight out of a French oak barrel that morning this wine was bright in fruit with red cherry, black cherry and violet on the nose. The red and black cherry shows up on the palate again with black currant and oak notes. Very high in mouth puckering tannins at this point, I can not wait to see what it has to offer next October when my shipment is arriving.
This is a realtively new, up and coming winery and I am looking forward to follow them as they develop over the years. Their wines are all really nice and leaves a promise of things to come in the future.
Find their wines at their website.
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