The Lucas Winery
If you were intimately involved in Opus One, took all that knowledge you learned from both the French and American sides of that endeavor, and then started your own winery using that knowledge but focused on Zinfandel, you would have The Lucas Winery.
Lucas is a beautiful family winery in Lodi. The vines were planted right after prohibition, and they pick the Zinfandel on the early side to make it more food friendly. It's aged in French oak for fourteen to sixteen months before bottling. Part of the vineyard has been organic since 2009.
They make more than just classic Zinfandel. A standout for me was the Lucas 2015 Zin Blossoms, a very sophisticated and dry Rose Zinfandel with a great finish.
The winemaker, Heather Pyle-Lucas has another vineyard called Tangles where she does everything herself from growing the grapes to making the wine.
Unfortunately she never quite put the energy she needed to in the part she liked least, the sales and marketing. I guess there's something about taking the wine from restaurant to restaurant trying to make a sale that was unappealing to her.
I believe the last year Tangles was bottled was 2010. That seems a shame to me. Hopefully she'll make Tangles again soon.