Tasting in the cellar of Lenz Winery with winemaker Eric Fry was a perfect testament to just how committed this winery is to producing world class wines. As we moved from barrel to barrel and tasted some of the new vintages, Eric imparted key pieces of knowledge about each vintage and how the varietal reacted whether it was only to fail or thrive. The wines I had tasted in bottle were wonderful, yet it was the cellar tour that captured my heart, as a tank of 2010 Gewürztraminer, still an unfinished wine, was stunning and showed even more character than the 2007, which I scored pretty high when it was tasted only moments before.
The red wines in Lenz cellar were also very exciting to taste and showed so much vibrant, focused fruit that it was hard to imagine how the winery could wait nearly five years before releasing a current vintage. However, one taste of the 2005 Merlot put all of my suspicions to rest; it was so lush, yet structured with a nose of dark fruit and an assortment of spices. It’s a wine I intend on putting in my own cellar.
Lenz came highly recommended from a trusted source, and now I can see why.
The Wines2007 Lenz Blanc de Noir Estate ($15) – The nose showed fresh round strawberry fruit with herbs and minerals. This wine was palate-soaking with fresh ripe cherries, yet remained vibrant and juicy. On the finish, sour berries lingered through the close. (89 points)
2004 Lenz Sparkling Cuvée ($30) – The nose showed green tea notes with flower petals, spring grass and hints of yeast. There was balanced richness on the palate with flavors of runny cheeses, apple and spice as this wine’s brisk acidity made the mouth water. The finish was long and refreshing with hints of sour berry. (89 points)
1996 Lenz RD Cuvée – On the nose, aromas of wheat, hints of lemon, and buttery roasted nuts rose up from the glass. On the palate, I found minerals and apple with a rich mouth-filling quality kept in check by a backbone of vibrant acidity. t was remarkably fresh with flavors of apple on the long finish. (90 points)
2007 Lenz Chardonnay White Label ($12) – The nose was vegetal with notes of caramel and oxidation. On the palate, I found sweet pit fruits and floral notes with a plush mouthfeel. (86 points)
2007 Lenz Chardonnay Gold Label (Barrel Fermented) ($20) – The nose showed sour peach, spring rain and almond. On the palate, it was soft with brisk acidity, as creamy white fruits and minerals filled the senses. The finish was long and wonderfully fresh. (89 points)
2007 Lenz Chardonnay Old Vines (subscribers only) ($25) – The nose showed ripe apricot and floral notes. On the palate, it was fresh with impeccable balance, as flavors of peach and apple filled the senses. The finish was long. (90 points)
2007 Lenz Gewürztraminer ($20) – On the nose, I found floral notes with sour lemon, lime, spice, minerals and hints of honeycomb. On the palate, it was rich and smooth yet vibrant with flavors of apricot, ginger and flower petals. It showed great balance with a beautiful long finish that showed stone fruits and hints of spice. (91 points)
2007 Lenz Cabernet Sauvignon ($23) – The initial impression on the nose was of bright red fruit, but with air it darkened and began to show currant and spices with cinnamon and cardamom. On the palate, I found cherry and cedar notes in lean acid balanced style. The finish was focused with sour berry fruit. (89 points)
2002 Lenz Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines ($40) – The nose showed dried red berries, dusty cocoa, graphite, undergrowth and soil notes. On the palate, this wine showed a firm structure with focused red fruits and smoky notes peaking through. The finish was long with sour blackberry. This wine certainly has a long life ahead of it and has yet to hit its peak. (89 points)
2005 Lenz Merlot ($17) – The nose showed dark fruits, cinnamon, dusty potpourri, and brown sugar. On the palate, I found ripe red fruits and cedar notes. This wine filled the senses yet remained balanced through the long finish where notes of sour berries and dark chocolate carried it into the close. (92 points)
2002 Lenz Merlot Estate Selection ($55) – The nose showed cocoa powder, sour black cherry,and dark chocolate. On the palate, it was balanced with great acidity and focused red fruits with spicy notes. The finish was long. (89 points)
2005 Lenz Subscriber series Merlot/Malbec – On the nose, I found wild berry, blackberry, and cinnamon with floral and spicy notes. This wine stands out from the Lenz lineup, as brambly sour berry and dusty sweet notes are carried by its lifting acidity and zesty personality. The acidity and structure worked well together, plus it was very fresh. (90 points)