The Lenné Estate Vineyard was first planted in 2001 and has 15.5 acres under vine. The vineyard has ideal
southern exposure and a desirable elevation between 370-600 feet. Planted Pinot Noir clones include
Pommard and Dijon 114, 115, 667 and 777. The site shares a ridge with Willakenzie Estate, Deux Vert, Shea,
Solena, and Penner-Ash. The vines are densely planted at nearly 2100 vines per acre in a combination of
Peavine and Willakenzie soils. The vineyard is dry-farmed and sustainably farmed with minimal use of non-organic
chemicals. Owner Steve Lutz manages and farms the vineyard.
The name, Lenné, sounds French but is derived from proprietor and winemaker Steve Lutz’s father-in-law, Len,
who raised his family on a chicken farm west of London, England. Len passed away in 1999 but he contributed
a portion of the down payment on the vineyard so the name and the label’s distinctive profile pays homage to
him. The first two vintages were released under the LeNez label (also pronounced ‘Lenay’) and in 2006 the
Lenné Estate label was added. The LeNez bottling is a blend of clones from the vineyard that reflect the
vineyard’s terroir, while the wines under the Lenné Estate label represent the best barrels from the vineyard in
Early on, Steve struck up a relationship with noted Oregon vintner David O’Reilly and he became the
consulting winemaker initially. In 2018, the consultant winemaker was veteran Drew Voit. The style is
restrained and seductive with at most 30% new French oak during elevage. I have been reviewing wines from
Lenné Estate since 2006 and tasted alongside Steve multiple times. The wines definitely speak to me and I
have consistently awarded the wines scores of 90 and above with many scores in the 94 range.
Steve told me the 2018 wines are on the opulent side with plenty of well-ripened, darker red and black fruits
and my tasting confirmed his impression. Tannins are evident but measured to the fruit load and predict age
ability. Oak integration is spot on and the silken textures are attractive. Steve recommends drinking these
wines 6 to 10 years from the vintage date. I would agree, as the wines are a bit reclusive at this stage.
However, if you want to try them now, I would recommend the Estate or South Slope Select bottling.
Lenné Estate Pinot Noir is sold on the winery’s website at www.leneeestate.com. Members of the winery’s
wine club enjoy invitations to special events including Steve’s Blind Tastings.The Blind Tastings held at Lenné
Estate are unique for the Willamette Valley. Usually, 4 to 6 blind tastings are held annually and feature a double-blind tasting of 8 wines. The reveal is done by Lenné’s Steve Lutz. The tastings include lunch and are open to
the public. The tasting room is located at the vineyard (check for availability of tastings during COVID-19).
2018 Lenné Estate Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.59, 298
cases, $40. Released 9/1/20. Grapes 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak before inoculation. Aged 11 months
in French oak barrels, 33% new. The winery’s flagship bottling crafted from all five clones found in the Estate
Vineyard with always at least 50% Pommard clone.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Dreamy aromas of
exuberant black cherry and cardamom spice. An approachable mid-weight style offering flavors of black cherry
and dark berries with hints of spice, cola and mocha. Excellent harmony with silken tannins and generous fruit
on the finish. Still easy to like when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle.
2018 Lenné Estate Jill’s 115 Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 60 cases, $55.
Named after Steve’s wife’s mother.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is rather reclusive,
even when the wine was sampled the following day from a previously opened bottle. There are hints of dark
berry and mocha aromas. A charming mid-weight core of black raspberry, boysenberry and cinnamon spice
flavors are in tune with a mild grip of tannin. Intensely fruited on the mid palate with very little oak intrusion and
finishing long and dry. Still fine when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle.
2018 Lenné Estate Sad Sack 777 Yamill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.79, TA
0.58, 226 cases, $55. Released 10/1/20. The best barrels from the vineyard’s 777 block. 100% de-stemmed, 5-
day cold soak, indigenous yeast fermentation, spontaneous MLF, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels,
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is dominated by aromas of black fruits, earthy flora and
charred oak. Bold and spirited dark berry fruit are featured in a middleweight style. The wine has a beefy tone
with an oak thread in the background and lacks nuance, but the persistent finish is packed with intense fruit.
2018 Lenné Estate Karen’s Pommard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc. 60 cases,
$55. Named after co-founder Karen Lutz.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Comforting aromas of
dusty Bing cherry, cola and mocha. The striking mid-weight plus core of delicious dark cherry fruit attacks the
palate in waves. There is great purity of fruit, a healthy tannic backbone and a black cherry-embossed, very
long finish. The Pommard clone stands on its own better than all other clones of Pinot Noir. When sampled the
following day from a previously opened bottle, I simply said, “Really good.”
2018 Lenné Estate South Slope Select Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Slope Select Yamhill-Carlton
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.1% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.59,
150 cases, $55. Released 9/1/20. 80% Pommard and 20% 115
clones. 100% de-stemmed followed by a 5-day cold soak prior
to inoculation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This beauty made me
sit up in my chair. Lively aromas of cherry, blueberry and baking
spices. Impressive attack and mid-palate length with delicious
flavors of black cherry, ripe strawberry and spice. The fruit has
energy and elevated status. Commendable harmony with
integrated tannins and inviting shafts of acidity, finishing strong
and persistent. More forward when tasted the following day
from a previously opened bottle. The wine can be enjoyed now
but would benefit from decanting or cellaring a few years.
2018 Lenné Estate Cinq Elus Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.79, TA 0.58,
125 cases, $78. Released 9/1/20. The name, cinq élus, means ’five select’ and is a blending of the single best
barrel of all five of the Pinot Noir clones planted in the Estate Vineyard. This is the winery’s finest wine and is
only produced in exceptional vintages. Steve recommends a minimum of six years of aging as this wine will
take longer than the other wines to evolve.. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 11 months in French
oak barrels, 80% new.
Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose evolves slowly in the glass to reveal aromas of
black cherry, cassis and baking spices. Reclusive on first approach, grudgingly revealing mid-weight plus
flavors of blackest cherry, black raspberry and purple berries with an interesting riff of Mexican hot chocolate.
Redeeming balance with of grip of tannin to insure age ability. More giving and luscious when tasted the
following day from a previously opened bottle, displaying the longest finish of all of the 2018 offerings. I have to
give this wine extra credit for potential as it is currently tight. Cellar for six years for the full experience.