April 8, 2022
After days of rain, the sun came out and we decided to do our walk in Greenport, strolling up and down Front and Main Streets. As we did, we noted the crop of newer restaurants we had not yet tried, and vowed to return if the pandemic allows. On the way home, we stopped in to Lenz to do a tasting, and were glad we did. Founded in 1978, Lenz is the second oldest winery on the North Fork, and both the tasting room and the wines are classic.
The room has the barn-like country vibe of many North Fork tasting rooms, with several tables, plus a bunch of picnic tables in the outside courtyard. Though it felt too chilly to us to sit outside, there was one couple out there, sharing a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers. Inside, two groups talked quietly as they sipped their wines. The wines are, for the most part, good representatives of the local terroir. We liked several of them in particular.
Tastings used to be primarily stand-up, at the bar, but now they show you to a table. Lenz used to allow outside food, but now they have a menu of real foods, in addition to cheese and charcuterie items. We were not hungry, but some of the sandwiches sounded good. I almost went with the tasting menu of chocolates paired with wines…maybe next time.
The tasting menu offers four options: the Library Flight, of their most expensive wines, one taste for $20; the Spring Flight, of a variety of wines, five tastes for $25; the Grand Flight, of some of their higher end wines, five tastes for $30; and the aforementioned Chocolate Pairing, of five wines paired with five chocolates, for $35. We decided to share the Spring Flight, as it seemed to promise the most variety and wines we might buy. Our flight arrived on a well-labeled tray, and our server gave us her well-practiced spiel about the wines.
- 2016 Estate Selection Gewürztraminer $20
Right from the first sniff, I loved the delicate floral aroma of this wine—orange flowers? The taste is also delicious, not at all sweet but full of fruit flavor. A few weeks ago, I had a guava, a flavor I found here, as well as perhaps a touch of nutmeg. We liked it so much, we bought a bottle.
- 2020 Firefly Rosé $20
A blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec, this is a really luscious rosé, with ripe melon and citrus flavors, dry. The aroma is so faint, I likened it to driving past a strawberry field with the windows open.
- 2016 Estate Select Chardonnay $22
Our server went into some detail in her introduction to this wine, telling us how it is made from grapes half fermented in steel and half in medium French oak, and asserting it is her favorite white. I disagree. It has some pineapple taste, which is fine, but also something else I find unpleasant, sort of a chemical or metallic note. I also don’t like the smell, which reminds me of plastics. My tasting buddy thinks it is fine. Chacun à son goût…
- 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon $25
Well, this is pleasanter. I smell red lollipop, though my husband says, not that sweet. Our server noted that this is her go-to red to bring to parties, and I can see why. It is a soft, very unchallenging red, with fruity flavors of red plum and berries. It would be fine to sip on its own, but would not stand up to steak. A crowd pleaser.
- 2015 Estate Selection Select Merlot $35
Although this is called a merlot, it is blended with some cabernet franc and petit verdot, which gives it more depth and complexity than a simple merlot. It has some tannins, and I can taste the oak and some fruit. Nice.
Reasons to visit: a classic old-school vineyard, with solid wines and no glitz; the gewürztraminer, the rosé, and the merlot; the cabernet sauvignon if you like soft, simple reds; reasonable prices but also some VERY high-end wines (as in $130 per bottle); nice menu of cheeses and also sandwiches. Note: my husband says the restroom is very small.