Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June 2010 - Niagara Trip: 6 Tasted of 6

We couldn’t resist dropping in to Daniel Lenko’s (View it!)  in Beamsville on the return trip from Graze the Bench. One of the many good memories after returning to Burlington was in 2001 sitting in mother Lenko’s kitchen being offered tastings of her son’s wines. In 1959 father William Lenko had pioneered planting some of the first varietals in Niagara Peninsula starting with Chardonnay followed by Merlot (1974), Riesling (1980) and Viognier (1993). ‘Old Vines’ feature prominently on many of their labels available today.

Daniel Lenko, a 3rd generation grape grower, still provides tastings in the kitchen while describing each with his personal attention not often seen from a proprietor of a successful wine business. Winemaker, Llya Senchuk, a graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, is another dedicated to allowing the grape and the earth to have full expression in each wine.    

The six wines of the Essential Taster Pack include most of the varietals we had purchased during our original visit… and a few that are new to me. When tasted wines will be sequenced by rating.  Cheers, Ww

  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2004 Select Late Harvest Vidal VQA Ontario, 94-2  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5% MS, #Winery $13.05  (375mL)
  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2008 White Cabernet VQA Niagara Peninsula, 92-2  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #Winery  $20.05
  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2005 Unoaked Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula, 92-2  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 14.0% D, #091173 $20.05 
  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2007 Reserve Riesling VQA Niagara Peninsula,  90-1  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5% D, #075655 $20.05  
  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2006 Old Vines Merlot VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #075622  $30.05
  • Daniel Lenko Estate 2004 Old Vines Chardonnay (French oak) VQA Niagara Peninsula, 86  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.7% D, #Winery  $30.05
(r-v  -  rating-value,  O  -  source other)

TASTINGS:  (Tasting notes from the Winery website are repeated below for convenience)

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2005 UNOAKED CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario,  (Map it!) 14.0% D, #091173 $20.05  (Tasted July 23, 2010) CS

“Spiced apple, grapefruit and lemon drop aromas mingle in the inviting nose, while mineral/flint flavours play beautifully within a round, supple texture.”  My notes: I tasted the 2004 in April 2006 with mixed feelings “…soft creaminess and slight flavours of lemon and ripe peach…finish starts strong but fades quickly into a faint grassiness.”  The 2005 has a soft golden blond colour with a film that slowly recedes down the bowl. A delicate apple nose, no sweet but a touch of clean tang and the first sip has a buttery fullness, a delightful tartness and light flavours of grapefruit edged with clay as a lively finish builds then slowly fades. An elegant sipper… and my favoured chardonnay style as the character of the vine and terroir shows more easily. Enjoy privately or with chicken liverwurst - or should that be chickwurst? -, saltines and a crowd - have with grilled fish or fowl. Has cellared well and will for several more years.  92

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2004 OLD VINES CHARDONNAY (French oak) VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.7% D, #Winery  $30.05  (Tasted July 16, 2010)

“Fruit from old vines provides toast smoke, vanilla and spice balanced exquisitely with melon and ripe pear flavours and a creamy, supple texture.”  My notes: The 1999 vintage was purchased during a visit in 2001, cellared until tasted in April 2006 noting ’… faint aromas of clover and honey… delicate flavours of melon, some pear, some honey, some light acid - no cream…’.  The 2004 has a smoky butterscotch aroma and is pale golden in the glass. Medium-bodied, a light tang along with a grassy edged pear, vanilla and butterscotch flavour. Very approachable as a sipper more process derived than fruit having a smooth finish and faithfully carrying the flavours 'til a dry herbaceous ending. Have with orange roughy and fine Italian pasta or risotto. Should cellar, although not improving, for several years.  86 

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2008 WHITE CABERNET VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #Winery  $20.05   (Tasted July 7, 2010)

“Strawberry, red currant and pear combine with hints of confectioner’s sugar to unveil a fresh and lively nose. Cassis and raspberry bring together good acidity with a wonderfully balanced palate.”  My notes: There’s a slight pink hue to the coral peach colour, rather coquettish. Crushed strawberries in the nose with sweet floral notes followed with a well balanced sweet and tart and delicate flavours of cassis, peach stone and slight raspberry. Medium-bodied, well rounded, a touch of sweet to an unexpectedly long finish - there’s definitely nothing to blush about. This would be a social pleaser if not a conversation in itself. Have on a sweltering July 7th or well chilled on the patio with friends. Should cellar well for a few years.  92

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2007 RESERVE RIESLING VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5% D, #075655 $20.05  (Tasted July 22, 2010) CS

“Gobs of grapefruit, lime and orange rind make way for hints of honey, beeswax and lilac. The powerful nose and palate are framed by a balanced sweetness and bracing acidity. A touch of mineral leads to a clean, long finish.”  My notes: The 2004 vintage was tasted in April 2006, before ratings, commenting ‘finish is long with a citrus peel or slight tangerine that puts a light oil on the lips’. The 2007 vintage is a light golden blond with a banana and citrus scent almost unnoticeable. The film recedes evenly with no noticeable tears and there are hints of honey followed by lime then orange rind - a tandem tasting profile as the wine warms on the palate. A lean texture with a polite acid starts a flavourful finish ending with a light lime and dry as chalk. Sipping develops considerable interest as flavours open and deepen. Pairing with grilled scallops, lobster/crab claws or oysters Rockefeller would suit this laid back riesling. Excellent with 24 Bahian-style mussels in a wine sauce. 90

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2006 OLD VINES MERLOT VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D, #075622 $30.05  (Tasted July 1, 2010) CS

“Huge aromas of blueberry, strawberry and plum layer over coffee and chocolate, while a firm tannic structure and solid concentration frame the round, creamy mid-palate. Vanilla, coconut and butterscotch lead to an amazingly long, supple finish.”  My notes: Bright cherry red in colour with smooth aromas of blended blueberry, cherry and slight strawberry. The film is thin receding quickly following a swirl. The first sip reveals this to be a light-bodied sipper, blueberry accented by cherry mixed with tart cranberry and finishing with a firm but polite tannin and slight bramble. Light flavours fade slowly ending dry on the palate. A dry sipper, possibly on the decline, but could be paired with prime rib, a ham or tuna steak. 88

DANIEL LENKO ESTATE 2004 SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5% MS, #Winery $13.05 (375mL)  (Tasted July 16, 2010)

“A perennial favourite, attractive apricot, peach, and orange zest flavours roll across the palate. Well balanced acidity and a clean, long finish bring the wine to a triumphant conclusion.”  My notes: A clear golden in the glass with a combination of orange, apricot and hint of banana nose. The nose is confirmed in the first sip through a delectable blending of orange and apricot. Sweet? Yes… but with enough acid to mellow the finish which is long, full and seeping with fruit. Sipping this on a patio with like minded friends would make any event special. Have liberally over vanilla sorbet or with crushed ice and a touch of vodka. Should cellar several years - seven to ten would be interesting.  94

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