Last week while out east I stopped at Lenz Winery. I had actually never been to that winery but I’ve had their wines before - my favorite has always been their Gewurztraminer. And, not surprisingly, the Gewurztraminer was probably my favorite in the tasting room, or at the very least in my top three that day.
We began with the 2008 Blanc de Noir - 100% Pinot Noir - a very light and pale wine leaning toward Rose, with soft characteristics of white citrus, tart cherry, a bit of berry and a hint of earthiness. The wine has bright acidity, making it food friendly (although I’m not so sure it would stand up to more than light fare), I think it would pair nicely with local seafood. The finish was respectable.
Next up was the 2007 Gewurztraminer, a slightly golden colored wine with characteristics expected from a Gewurz - lychee, peach, apricot, mostly tropical fruit with some orchard fruits, white blossom and a lot of floral notes, elegant spice, nice underlying acidity, and a long finish. I do realize that I might be slightly biased as I have always been an admirer of Gewurz, but this is a lovely wine and I was so happy to enjoy it yet again.
I then tried the 2005 Cuvee, 100% Pinot Noir. The wine is not overly aromatic, with characteristics of lots of citrus, mostly the bright acidic juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, crisp green apple, and not much of the baked bread characteristic that I had almost anticipated. While the sparkling wine is food friendly due to its bubbly nature and crisp flavor, it might be a bit too acidic for my taste, as I generally prefer some more floral, nut, and bread characteristics incorporated into a sparkling wine.
Next was the 2007 White Label Chardonnay, another of my favorites of the tasting. A light golden color, the wine is mostly done in stainless steel but with a bit of oaked Chardonnay blended in, and the result is very nice. Characteristics of white citrus, green apple, and baking spice with a hint of butterscotch come through with a somewhat buttery texture but a clean and crisp feel, a nice finish, and overall I really enjoyed this wine.
I then tried the first of the two reds I selected (and this wine was also among my favorites of the day) - the 2007 Estate Selection Merlot. The wine is a ruby color with a bit of a lighter rim, and displays characteristics of cherry, raspberry, and chocolate. The aromas would indicate sweetness but on the palate the wine is dry, smooth, and has bright acidity, making it very food friendly, and has soft tannins as well, giving it a nice texture, and has a respectable finish. I’d like this wine especially for the cooler months and for pairing with dishes that have bolder flavors.
The last wine was the 2002 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice wine beginning to show its age in a positive way. The wine has a deep color and shows characteristics of currant and red fruit with a bit of plum and gentle spices. It’s a fairly sophisticated wine with a nice texture and a long finish and would also be a nice choice for pairing with heavier dishes.
The tasting room staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the winery itself is beautiful. What I liked most about Lenz - the wines are not too young to be enjoyed now, as most of the wines I tasted had aged a bit. When tasting at a winery, usually I try really young wines and sometimes they appear immature and occasionally a bit awkward - but not these wines, as they had already spent some time nearing their full potential. Another positive about Lenz is that the wines are generally made of a single grape type, instead of like some of the blends I’ve tasted at Long Island wineries. I do appreciate creativity when blending a wine, but sometimes I feel that grapes that should not be together are in the same bottle and tend to produce a wine that does not properly express Long Island’s terroir - it’s hard to learn much about what our climate and soil can produce if too many grape types are blended together. Lenz is doing a very nice job of creating wines that express Long Island soil and climate, and I was pleased with their wines.