Variety: Merlot; Cabernet Franc; Malbec; Petit Verdot
Region: North Fork, Long Island, New York
Cost: $35 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Lenz Estate Selection Merlot is made from ripe grapes harvested in mature vineyards. The characteristic flavor profile is deep and rich, full of black cherries and dark red plums, with plenty of soft-and-supple tannins. The final blend is carefully assembled from individual barrel lots as the wine ages–usually 85-90% merlot with some cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot blended in. The wine is never filtered nor is it fined.
My Review: I have to admit that Merlot has been growing on me lately. I know about the “Sideways Effect,” but even before that movie I had shied away from Merlot; mostly because what I had been drinking was…not good. So, it’s been fun to dive back into a grape that I had ignored when I was first exploring wine and to find really great examples of how it’s being made.
In the glass, the 2015 Lentz Estate Selection Merlot was a deep red color. On the nose I got aromas of dried cherry, plum, and soft wood notes. In the mouth the wine showed soft tannins, with flavors of black cherry and tart, dried fruit.
As advertised, the wine was unfiltered and unrefined, so my wife and I made a point of decanting the wine (something we don’t do as often as we probably should), running it through a mesh strainer as we did to catch any of the larger particles that we didn’t want to end up in the decanter (and eventually our glasses).
Paired with a dinner of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus, the wine was excellent. The tart fruit notes were a good counter to the grilled flavors, but the notes of cherry and plum were round enough to still compliment the smoky meat flavor.
I really liked this wine, and after the last drop was poured I wished I had another bottle to try with something else on the grill–I think some grilled pork would do well against this wine. All that to say, it’s definitely one worth checking out as we head into summer and prime grilling season.
Disclaimer: I received this wine as a free sample for review.