For obvious reasons, I enjoy my visits to The Lenz Winery in Peconic, NY even if I don't actually own it, haha.
Frankly, I used to be disappointed by the basic, second-label wines that they usually pour in their tasting froom. That all changed when I visited to tast their superb sparkling wines and had an experience I'd wish upon any wine lover. It was then that I could finally understand how some of their wines were rated better than Petrus in a blind tasting.
Along with an impromptu vertical tasting of sparkling wines, winemaker Eric Fry popped open a bottle of their 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. On our way out, that was the only wine we purchased...it was that good.
Everyone reading this knows of my affection for Long Island wines, but I can admit that most of the Cabernet Sauvignon available is green, thin and rather lifeless. While our microclimate is well suited to Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon doesn't always ripen fully in all vineyards and I honestly think that fewer varietal Cabs should be made here.
This, however, is not one of those weak Cabernet Sauvignons.
Eyes: Rich and inky deep purple with a thin crimson rim, showing very nice amounts of extraction. I can tell right away that this isn't the every day L.I. Cab.
Nose: Beautiful and lush blackberry and raspberry aromoas with cherry accents and well-defined but integrated toasty oak notes. Changes every few minutes, with the fruit becoming more and more pronounced and almost sweetening.
Tongue: Much more cherry but the raspberry remains. Fuller-bodied than most any Long Island red with deliciously structured tannins. Ripe and full, it offers a stunningly long, classy finish. Yum.
Overall: I hesitate to use the word, but I think this is the best Long Island Cabernet Sauvignon I've tasted, hands down. It's so much more developed and complex, with rich aromas and flavors, that it's hard to believe it's made here. Vintage is particularly important in this case, as their 1999 is merely typical and uninteresting. This wine earned an A from both Nena and me...a first.
Lenn's Grade: A
Nena's Grade: A