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2002 Old Vines Merlot

The Wine Advocate reviewed this wine in 2010 and awarded it 90 points, along with a brief reprise of the 1997 Merlot review:

“The Lenz 2002 Merlot Old Vines is scented with dark cherry and black raspberry, humus, and fungus. On the palate it offers a smooth texture from resolved tannins along with fresh fruit brightness and an invigorating tartness of berry seeds. Like the corresponding Cabernet Sauvignon, this exhibits dark shadings of moss and herbs along with iodine and stone. It has the edge in density, primary fruit retention, and sheer length over the Cabernet, and should be worth following for at least another 3-5 years. (The lovely 1997 – about which I wrote at length in issue 165 – was still gorgeous, if rarified and seemingly entirely resolved, when tasted alongside this 2002.) Micro-biologist Eric Fry reached New York from his native California 25 years ago on the recommendation of mentor Andre Tchelistcheff and has long ago become a Long Island veteran. He and owner Peter J. Carroll follow a release regimen that would give most winery proprietors headaches and heartburn not to mention red ink, with whites usually appearing a couple of years after harvest, while red wines and the estate’s wonderful sparkling wines are typically released after four or more years. Fry believes oxygen is a friend at the right time, and his reds often get “splashed” following what usually are very slow malos [malolactic secondary fermentations]; are given extended time in barrel before racking to tank; and are bottled extremely late.”


Well, that’s another first-rate review from the acknowledged leader in fine wine appreciation.  What could our own seven tasters add to that assessment?  Well here, from 12 years later, is some of what we recently said:

  • Slightly softer and lighter than the 2001\Very good, deep color

  • Dark red fruit; Plum, raspberry, some pomegranate

  • Cedar notes; truffles; spice

  • Slightly ‘barnyardy’ [believe it or not this was a compliment, meaning complexity]

  • Nicely integrated

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