Lenné Estate with Proprietor Steve Lutz

published 9 months ago by Austin Beeman

Walk the Lenné Estate Vineyard with Proprietor Steve Luz. Special Thanks to Carl Giavanti To hear Steve Lutz tell it, his vineyard sits on the poorest soil imaginable. “The worst in the county,” he boasts with pride and bravado. That’s because the depleted ancient sedimentary soil, outside of Yamhill, OR. he believes, is the best in which to grow Pinot Noir grapes. He produces six wines from those 21 acres, but first and foremost, Steve Lutz loves his dirt. “It’s a pain to work with,” he says of his steep hillside vineyard called Lenné, “but it controls vigor and produces small clusters and berries.” With Pinot Noir, those are two integral factors to making really good, balanced wine. Steve began making wine for himself in 1986 in Napa Valley which led him on a search 15 years later for the perfect Pinot Noir site in the Northern Willamette Valley. After an eight month search it only took 15 minutes when he climbed a steep hill 1 located outside the town of Yamhill, in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. He made the deal within an hour, planted the vineyard in 2001 and determined, “This is the perfect piece. It wasn’t even officially on the market when I looked at it. I just happened to know a friend of the friend of the land owner. It’s the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me. It’s a gem.” Though he likes to call himself a “minimalist” winemaker, it’s on this ground into which he puts the preponderance of work. “It’s more than a passion, it’s a privilege,” to be working with this soil, he contends. And, “the more work you do on a place, the more interested you are in it. To say, ‘This is what I do every day’, is a great thing to be able to do. I want other people to experience and understand that. This hillside gives my wines a certain aromatic quality and density, which spells terroir to me.” With the 2014 vintage, Lenné’s vines are reaching maturity to which leads Lutz to exclaim, “I’m more enamored with this site now because it’s getting some age; we have a good feel for the clones, and the type of wines they produce.” So in 2005, after he tasted the first wines to come off this stressed vineyard from which he at first wasn’t sure would be viable, and after “just writing checks which was tough on a marriage, I told my wife, ‘Don’t worry about it, everything’s going to work out.’” The Pinot Noir he recollects, tasted like chocolate black cherry; and that mocha-like taste has been a constant thread throughout all of Lenné’s wines since. Lenné ~ 18760 NE Laughlin Road, Yamhill, OR 97148 steve@lenneestate.com 503.256-9562 www.lenneestate.com

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