Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lenz Merlot 2000 - Elegant and Powerful

There is nothing tougher than moving a wine cellar. After eight years of having my cellar in New Jersey, we decided to move it up-state to the farm in Ghent, NY. It's too grueling, afraid you'll smash a bottle here and there. And of course, lugging all that wine, more than 50 cases in my instance, is back breaking. And hen of course, reconstituting it up state was another challenge.

On the other hand, when you move your cellar there are a few surprises, as you find bottles you have long forgot about. Some are pleasant. Others are...well...disappointmens...why did I save that? Why did I buy that? Oooops, that can't be good anymore....and the like.

So the other night we decided to stay home and make dinner. Dominique had bought some thick cut pork chops and so we had a simple meal of grilled pork rubbed with lots of pepper and kosher salt, Spanish yellow rice, and steamed broccoli and butter.

It had been a hard day on the farm, working outside in the rain. We had been soaked through to the bone. And it was cold and gray and gross. So the smell of the simmering rice and the smell of the steamed broccoli helped to ward off the cold. And of course it was time to go to the basement, and try something different.

Well, unfortunately, the first thing I brought, a relatively expensive California Merlot from 1999 didn't make it. Maybe it was the cork. Maybe it was the wine. We'll never know. But it was not good any more. A real disappointment.

So, back down to the cellar I went. This time I pulled out a Lenz Merlot from 2000. The wine poured nicely into the glass. As my grilled pork beckoned, with smoke rising from the meat, we examined the garnet colored wine. It smelled beautifully of cherries and vanilla and some darker fruits. And it tasted wonderful. Some dried cherry. Again, a slightly darker berry flavor. Nice oak and tannins. Balanced fruit and oak. It was mature and elegant. A nice dry, smooth finish. Just, excellent.
Lenz came through....dependable as always.