Saturday, August 04, 2012

Howard G. Goldberg of the Times Features Lenz Winery (NY)

A New Dry Wine Takes a Bow
Published: July 27, 2012
New York Times

Howard G. Goldberg is the author of the newly published THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF WINE

Each time the latest Lenz Winery gewürztraminer is released, it is something of an event. The wine world regularly rates it one of America’s leading dry versions.

A bottle from one of the first of 579 cases of the 2008 version ($20), recently released by the estate, in Peconic, shows why.

The vineyard’s manager, Sam McCullough, and its winemaker, Eric Fry, both seasoned East End veterans, have produced another in a long chain of successes.

This graceful, mature white wine delivers a characteristic perfume of honey and rose petals, an aroma and flavor of litchi, spice and an underpinning of grapefruit.

Typically, Lenz has delayed the release for a long time “because it takes gewürztraminer two or three years to wake up in the bottle,” Mr. Fry said in a telephone interview. Most American wineries release the wine the year after the vintage to speed cash flow.

Plantings of Lenz’s 5.5 acres of gewürztraminer vines date to 1978. They began with the founders, Peter and Patricia Lenz, and continued under their successors, Peter and Deborah Carroll, who acquired the property in 1988.

These old vines contribute depth and breadth to Lenz’s Alsatian-style dry gewürztraminer. The estate’s earliest ones were released in 1983; since then, the style has never varied.

Another recent release, the 2011 gewürztraminer from Corey Creek Vineyards (overpriced at $35) is an inviting everyday workhorse. It is subdued, litchilike, zippy and a bit grassy. The vineyards, in Southold, are owned by Bedell Cellars, in Cutchogue.

The delicate 2011 gewürztraminer ($20.99) from Martha Clara Vineyards, in Riverhead, also an everyday wine, displays an agreeable litchi aroma and the barest hint of a flirtatious sweetness.

These wines, best drunk cool, can enhance a range of foods, especially rich ones: Long Island duck, foie gras, pâté, onion tart, choucroute garnie and Munster and blue-veined cheeses.

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