Lane Tanner Winery

Owner(s) Lane Tanner
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Lane Tanner Winery

Lane Tanner is a California treasure. Working at Konocti Winery in Lake County on the bottling line in the mid 1970s, her employer found out she had a degree in chemistry and put her in the lab. The first day she was in the lab, she was introduced as the new enologist to the winery’s consultant, Andre Tchelistcheff. The only problem was that Lane had no clue what an enologist was. Andre kept telling the winemaker, “Have Lane test this, have Lane test that.” Fortunately, Andre liked her spunk and her future career was born. Her experience with Andre has led to her current alias, “Pinot Czarina.”

Lane moved on to Firestone Winery in Santa Barbara County and then started her own label, Lane Tanner Winery, in 1984. She was previously married to the owner of the Hitching Post restaurant and made the house wine for that restaurant made famous in the movie Sideways.

She now produces about 1,500 cases of Pinot Noir and Syrah at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria. Her style of winemaking is distinctive. She strives for elegance and avoids high and intrusive alcohol at all costs. Oak treatment is understated, with 20-30% new French oak used during a 12-18 month period in barrel. She remains a one-woman show and does everything from start to finish herself. You won’t find her wines prominently promoted, but pinotphiles know to buy everything she makes every year. Largely sold to a faithful mailing list.

Reviewed Wines

2007 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 295 cases, $33. From N Block (Martini clone on its own rootstock planted in 1973). Back label says, “Laugh More-Flirt Often.” · Appealing intense aromas of blackberries, raspberries, plums, raisins and herbs. Tasty earth-dusted berry flavors with pepper in the background. There is a slight roasted quality to the fruit. Alluring richness, smoothly textured, with a tenacious persistence on the finish. Lane Tanner Pinot amped up a notch. Not as expressive as it will be but great cheekbones now. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Lane Tanner Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 447 cases, $36. Sourced from block B4 (Martin Ray selection) of Julia’s Vineyard which is located about 3 miles east of Bien Nacido Vineyard. The crop was low so it ripened earlier and harvest occurred about a month earlier than in 2006. Lane was the first to pick at this vineyard. Aged 11 months in 33% new French oak and 44% one-year-old barrels. The wine was not finned and was gently filtrated. · Watch out for this spiced-up mother as it will seduce you. On the extroverted nose there are lovely scents of framboises des boise and cassis liquors which draw you into the glass. The lush berry fruit is rich and opulent with well-integrated tannins and a whisper of oak. Balance is spot on. The mouth feel is satiny and the long, powerful finish is seductively perfumed. This is a wine with considerable cleavage that is hard to say no to. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Lane Tanner Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 556 cases, $26. This is Lane’s “flagship or working girl wine.” · Bright red cherry and strawberry fruits featured in the aromas and flavors. Light, refreshing, clean and pure. Unadulterated Pinot flavor in an easily drinkable style ready for the table tonight. Believe me, you won’t find a better California Pinot Noir at this price anywhere. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 460 cases, $33. Sourced from Bien Nacido N Block, Martini clones on their own roots planted in 1973. · Riper, earthier scents showing darker fruits and a little pepper. Plenty of lush dark Pinot fruits complimented by a touch of oak char and nicely balanced with fine tannins and reserved acidity. A memorable black raspberry kiss persists on the finish for more than ten seconds. Old vines, an accomplished winemaker and the result is pure Pinot pleasure. This one will be fine over the long haul. Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Lane Tanner Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.460 cases, $36. This vineyard is located three miles due east of the Bien Nacido Vineyard and Lane’s block is planted to the Martin Ray clone of Pinot Noir. · Dark crimson in color. Aromas of earth-dusted fruit, grilled meat and toasted oak lead to an attack of plush dark stone fruits which are earth-kissed. Layers of flavor interest with mushrooms, herbs and cola.. Dense on the palate but still silky in texture with a healthy tannic core that is not intrusive. This one will appeal to those who like the more sauvage style of Pinot Noir. Like Lane says, “ like the haunting other woman - rather scary.” Reviewed May 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Lane Tanner Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 556 cases, $24.50. The back label says, “Dogs, Men, Wine, I Love Them All.” A drop of Syrah in this one. · Terrific aromatics of toasty spiced cherries. A wine of finesse with tart cherry, pomegranate and oak spice flavors. Very light on its feet and thoroughly satisfying. As Lane says, goes with everything and everyone. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 264 cases, $30. The back label says, “When are we going to live, if not now?” Sourced from 30 year old vines in the Bien Nacido Vineyard (almost as old as Lane). · This Pinot has a really nice perfume of ripe cherries, cassis and toast. The wine has more backend power than the wine above with a sexy cherry kiss at the end which lasts an eternity. Very nicely composed and balanced. Who says great Pinot Noir can’t be made at 13% alcohol? I have seen the Chapel of Love and it is good. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

$30. · This wine won’t bowl you over with fruitiness but offers impeccable balance and fine-grained tannins. The wine is uplifted with bright acidity and is refreshing to drink. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

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2005 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 264 cases, $30. · The back label says “When are we going to live, if not now?” She has that right. This wine has a very nice perfume of ripe cherry, cassis and toast. There is plenty of backend power and a great sweet cherry kiss at the end that lasts and lasts. The whole package is nicely composed and balanced. What a novel idea - a California Pinot Noir with 13% alcohol - you can drink a couple of glasses without getting sideways. Not for Cabophiles or lovers of FrankenPinots. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Lane Tanner Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 375 cases, $33. · This is the richest wine of the lineup but still has lively acid for balance. Decant this wine or wait an hour after pouring a glass or you will be cussing Lane that she sold you a bill of goods! Once it flowers, it offers an attractive nose of plums and currents with a plump mouth feel and a fruit and herbal finish. A little alcohol peaks out on the nose with time. I would drink the above two wines and cellar this busty one for later enjoyment. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Lane Tanner Bien Nacido Vineyards Pinot Noir

12,8%, $26. As you can tell by the alcohol level, Lane picks her grapes usually before anyone else, but an alcohol below 13% is a rarity, even for her. The wine is pure N Block (Martini clone planted in 1973 on its own rootstock). 35% new oak. · Lane warns that this wine tastes leaner than other years, but feels it will be long-lived. Her comment is right on as this wine is more austere and tart than the more showy 2005 release. Reviewed August 24, 2007 ARTICLE »

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