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1997 ‘Old Vines’ Merlot Magnum

1997 ‘Old Vines’ Merlot Magnum Wine Details

Description: Lenz became known for its merlots starting with the 1985 vintage. The 1993 was, at the time, far and away the best yet produced, and the 1994 was another blockbuster. The 1995 vintage was also warm and dry and it led to the richest, roundest Estate Bottled merlot we had made -- more voluptuous than the 1993. 1996 was not as generous, however. It was a cool vintage that took forever to ripen the grapes. If it had not been for a long spell of fine weather in October, we would never have picked at all! And then there was the 1997. From this amazing vintage, we knew from the start that we had a blockbuster merlot on our hands. From vines that were then nearly twenty years old and producing fine grapes in low, two-and-a-half tons per acre yields, we harvested super-ripe grapes in late October. The wine tasted terrific at every step along the way and it was an effort of will to age it in barrels, bottle it in mid 1999 and hold off releasing it until mid-summer this year (2000). In a blind tasting at the Gramercy Tavern that you can read about in the Tastings section of the site, the 1997 Lenz Estate Bottled merlot was rated higher than two separate vintages of Château Pétrus. The 1997 Pétrus costs $650 per bottle and the 1995 Pétrus costs $975 per bottle!

Varietal Definition
Merlot is known as a Noble Bordeaux varietal. Although it came to France in the first century, it was not named until the 1880s. Merlot was originally used only for blending, as it is soft and compliant, very useful in softening other Bordeaux wines like Cabernets. Recently in California and Chile it became popular as a 100% varietal wine. Merlot tends to be easier to grow in a variety of soil conditions and is harvested earlier in the year than Cabernet. Although most Merlots are made to be drunk earlier, there are many with complexities of a Cabernet. Flavors of plum, black cherry, violet, chocolate and orange pair well with rich, red pasta dishes, hearty chicken dishes, and any beef combination that you fancy. The perfect match of course is chocolate. Not only does the chocolate compliment the wine and vice-versa, but the essence of both flavors linger eternally.


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