Earlier this summer Winery Wanderings experienced Lenné Estate with noted winery publicist Carl Giavanti and Brianne Cohen, a wine writer and sommelier from California. This was one of five wineries we visited on a whirlwind tour of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. We had the great honor to meet with the owners and winemakers at these amazing wineries.
We started out by sitting around a large, heavy wooden table in the tasting room, sampling wines and sharing a truly beautiful charcuterie tray that went exceptionally well with the wines, while owner Steve Lutz shared the story of Lenné. When we visit wineries and tasting rooms, we are most interested in the service and the feel of the winery. We believe you can always find at least one wine that pleases your palate. It’s the service, the experience and the story that hits home for these Winery Wanderers.
The first thing Steve told us was, “we have the poorest soil in Yamhill County.” Our thoughts were, “then why did you buy this property?” He is eager to boast that his steep, 20.9-acre hillside vineyard is made of ancient, nutrient-poor Peavine variety soil that limits vine vigor and forces the plants to root deep into the earth and struggle for survival. That seems to really excite Steve! After tasting the wine from the clones that were planted in 2001, we now know why he is so excited about the results!
Steve’s telling of the history of the winery makes it all the more interesting. The name and the logo of a man’s face with a rather large Nez, nose in French, makes the story even more fun. You’ll have to make a visit to get the true story.
The highlight of our visit was actually touring the vineyard by foot and tasting a different wine at each block. Just walking a hundred yards to a different elevation and block was enough to wonder if the wine was from the same vineyard. Each block and terroir was very distinctive in its own way.
The views from the top of the vineyard were spectacular. As a side note, a few weeks later we ran in a relay race in the area and ran right by Lenné. I wanted to stop and taste so much, but my teammates said no, we had to get to Carlton as fast as our legs could carry us!
Meeting the owners and winemakers always makes a visit so special. You get to experience the real sense of pride in what’s being done at each step of the process. Many times we wonder how they can survive and actually make a profit with all the work that goes into each and every bottle. We appreciate the passion, dedication and sacrifice it takes to make a beautiful bottle of wine.
Lenné Estate produces only estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Total annual production ranges from 1500-2000 cases. The current selection includes 2014 and 2015 Pinot Noirs, all estate grown on this beautiful 21-acre site. The wines range in price from $30 to $72. The soil at this site produces Pinot Noir with black fruit flavors and rich textures. Tasting through these wines was an exceptional opportunity to experience the nuances of soil, sun and slope and their impact on the wine.
Lenné Estate is located in Yamhill, Oregon. The tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 5PM and Monday and Tuesday by appointment. This beautiful experience is worth the trip from where ever you are. The wine, the people, the place will not disappoint you.