I love to wander around wine shops. I get lost. Just like some people get lost in a library or their favorite book shop. I get lost in a wine shop, always looking at the bottle lying on their side. I make a lot of noise and the staff always asks if I need help, which I usually refuse politely at first, but then always ask for their recommendations before I make my purchase. I spent nearly 45 minuets searching every bottle. Then I found this Lenz Winery 1998 Merlot.
This might be the oldest Merlot I have tasted from Long Island. I have had a number of Lenz Winery’s Merlot before, but nothing this old. Lenz has been know to age their wines, in fact the current release of their Merlot is from 2002, so by my calculations, this could have been released only 4 years ago.
I grabbed my bottle and left with my fingers crossed hoping that this bottle was handled correctly and was still in good shape. For the price I paid, $13.00, it was a worth while risk.
So here is what I found over the course of a few days.
On the nose I was picking up cherry –Louden Cough Drop cherry and Cherry Licorice with a heavy wet soil earthy note and a hint of eucalyptus. There was some green notes, maybe some stem aromas from rosemary and sage. As the wine was acclimated, I was picking up some coca powder and raspberry notes with a hint of spice.
When I tasted this wine, it was very cherry and earthy. Bold flavors that really stood out. There was not a single flavor of green herb. Spice and coca were also prominent with a hint of sweet vanilla and smoke.
The tannins were well-integrated and the acidity was still lively. It was showing well and tasted just as good on day two. It had some legs, but I did notice some browning on the edges. That may have been the only downside of the wine.
The finish was moderate with some cherry and a touch of spice.
This is a perfect example of why one should walk around their wine shop for a while, you may never believe what you find. I know that I was pleased, so pleased I may have to go back and see if there is any more — though I am not sure how long these would last.