SLIDESHOW: New and Vintage Wines at Lenz’s 23rd Annual Merlot Classic


It was a beautiful night for a wine tasting last Saturday, outdoors, surrounded by ripening gewürztraminer. But under the tent was nothing but merlot (and some merlot blends). Sixteen producers were there, and I was able to taste nearly all of them. There were also merlots from across the U.S. and across the ocean, but I couldn’t bother with that table–not enough time. Here’s the new, old and unusual:

NewHarmony Vineyards. In Head of the Harbor, this vineyard donates all profits to charity. It is focusing on “Bordeaux-style red wines and Chablis style white wines.” On their table was the 2008 Harmonius Red Blend, which was made by Eric Fry of Lenz.  Anthony Nappa’s 2010 Blackbird Merlot. The only 2010 Merlot there I tasted and it showed the exceptional ripeness of the vintage.

Old: Lenz’s 2002 Old Vines Merlot, showing how that good vintage is holding up after 10 years. Wölffer Estate’s 1998 Estate Selection Merlot, which was also still hanging on to some fruit.

Good Values: Castello di Borghese 2008 Merlot for $20; Jamesport Vineyards 2005 Estate Merlot Block E, $25, good way to taste this good vintage and its great balance; 2005 Lieb Cellars Reserve Merlot, $25, same vintage with complex flavors; NV Mattebella Famiglia Red, $17, pizza wine.






Eileen M. Duffy

Eileen M. Duffy DWS holds a diploma in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Her book on Long Island wine Behind the Bottle came out in 2015. Visit her website,, to find out what else she's working on.