Marine Layer "Lyra" Pinot Noir 2018

Sonoma Coast, California

The word is already out on Marine Layer, the hot new project from Baron Ziegler and Rob Fischer, part of the team behind the wildly successful Banshee label. This project is a natural extension of their dedication to elegant wines made from cool-climate sites in California. 

Little known fact: "Sonoma Coast" is actually one of northern California's largest delimited regions, spanning over 500,000 acres from the coastline all the way east to the San Pablo Bay, abutting Napa County. It's huge. The Robb Report describes the Sonoma Coast AVA as "a region so diverse as to be almost meaningless to its distinctive parts." Most of the "Sonoma Coast" is actually nowhere near to the ocean, so it pays to know your geography.

Marine Layer, as their name implies, aims to do just that: they showcase the top cool-climate sites from the "true" Sonoma Coast, the part that hugs the coastline, buffeted by fierce winds and constant fog. Grapevines struggle to ripen in this marginal climate, producing small, intensely concentrated berries with vibrant acidity and freshness nurtured by their proximity to the sea.

In a recent tasting of their entire lineup, we found the "Lyra" to represent the best intersection of value and quality: with a tight yet expansive bouquet, it shows snappy red cherry and cranberry fruits, spicy cola, mulberry, rose petal-potpourri, and cool spearmint on the lacy, silky finish. It's an indisputably elegant, classically California Pinot verging on "Burgundian" in character – with a long life ahead of it no less. Drink now or cellar for another decade, at least.

Their "Lyra" represents barrel selections from six amazing sites in Sonoma: Gap's Crown, Gravenstein, Bohemian, Starscape, Freestone, and Jentoft vinevards. For the uninitiated, Gap's Crown is part of the "Petaluma Gap," a strip of land just north of Marin and Tomales Bay, in the direct line of fire of the daily blasts of frigid sea-borne fog. Antonio Galloni of Vinous Media says of this "Lyra": "Dried flowers, mint, sweet red cherry and blood orange all grace this exquisite, supple Pinot."

Critics have lauded these wines across the board, praising every single one of their wines with praise such as: "tremendous character"..."translucent personality. In a word: terrific"..."absolutely exquisite."

Less than 125 cases were made. Sommeliers are snatching this wine up for their restaurants and bars – we suggest grabbing what you can before the secret (and the wine) is out!

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