From the earliest days at Lenz, certainly going back to the early 1990s, we adopted a practice of holding back a small amount of the best wines from certain vintages. For example, after 1993, which was a wonderful vintage for reds, when our stocks of Old Vines Merlot and Cabernet from that year were shrinking fast, we withheld about 50 cases of each and moved on to the next vintage. It didn’t hurt that 1994 and 1995 were also excellent red-wine vintages. Around the same time, we also adopted the practice of bottling a fraction of our best reds in magnum and occasionally double-magnum sizes.
The idea was to reach the point where we would have an extensive library of older, aging wines. Well, we have reached that point. As of today, we have a mix of reds in different formats (i.e. bottle sizes) going back to 1993. Other years to be found in the library include reds from 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015 which is a current release. We even have certain white wines in our library, including a late-harvest chardonnay from 2010, a gewurztraminer from 2015, and our ‘RD’ sparkling wines (for example, whereas our current-release Cuvee is from 2015, the recently-disgorged older Cuvee is from 2007).
We offer some these wines as part of our premium tasting flights, partly because they’re good, and partly to give Lenz customers a chance to gauge how our wines will improve with age. Based on our own tasting of these library wines, I’d say, realistically, that our Old Vines reds peak at between 15 and 20 years; after that, as with a lot of older reds, while they are still fun to drink and they do show some interesting complexity, realistically, they are in a gentle decline! Prices on our library wines vary between about $100 and $250 per bottle. And up to $1000 for magnums and double-magnums.