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. Lenz Winery 2010 Old Vines Merlot ($65) is one such wine.

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

To that I’d simply say, “Yes.” This wine is a classic for a reason and is absolutely worth the splurge to be able to enjoy a wine from a great vintage with this sort of bottle age — maturing but nowhere near peak.

Lenz Winery 2010 Old Vines Merlot

93 points

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.

Producer: Lenz Winery
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $65 (wine club only)

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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