Why you should sip Lenz 2010 Old Vines Merlot

A bottle of Lenz Winery 2010 Old Vines Merlot. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

If you’ve been drinking Long Island wines for very long, you’ve most certainly heard a winemaker or tasting room staffer compare the North Fork and its wines to Bordeaux and its wines, particularly Right Bank Bordeaux.

You don’t hear that much anymore (thankfully) but if you taste and drink enough local merlot-based wines, you’re going to sometimes come across a wine that makes that comparison appropriate. This week’s “Wine of the Week” Lenz Winery 2010 Old Vines Merlot ($65) is one such wine.

You might be thinking “$65? For a Long Island merlot?” right now. And to that I’d simply say, “Yes.”

It’s absolutely worth the splurge to be able to enjoy a wine from a great vintage with this sort of bottle age — maturing but no where near peak.

Intensely aromatic, it features concentrated black cherry, plum and currant fruit aromas with wonderful earthy, woodsy notes at the edges. Fuller bodied and flavored, the similarly concentrated palate offer ripe dark fruit flavors with layers of spice, earth and savoriness. The tannins are starting to round out but still provide a nice bit of grip. A long, graphite-tinged finish also shows a vein of dried earth.

If you’ve never experienced a local wine at this point in its development — maturing while still showing some primary fruit — do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle.