Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Lenz winery barrel tasting

At the Lenz Winery with winemaker Eric Fry I tasted the 2007 Old Vines Merlot from the barrel, which would be blended in the future with the 07 Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. Merlot is used to round the blend, it is smoother richer, fuller, sweeter and fills the mouth up and subtle blueberries pervade. Much more dense than the Cabernet, packed condensed, it finishes strong at the end with real intensity, but not flashy. At this point Eric starts to describe what he calls "reductive winemaking" (reductive vs. oxidative), making wine in the absence of oxygen for a period of time after fermentation, it's more Burgundian in style than Bordeaux. The wine is fermented without oxygen while the temperature is very slowly increased. It lasts from January until March - really slow malolactic fermentation... that's when the flavors like mushroom and earth develop - building complexity into the wine, creating good tannins that will soften and get smoother and velvety - oxygen ages the wine, so tannins are retarded in reductive fermentation but will catch up. Ripe tannins = bigger molecule.

Next is the Cabernet Franc which was earthy, dark sour cherry, very fruity, rich round soft sweet (not sugar sweet, but a fruity sweet) tropical, pomegranate, and a nice acid edge.

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