For affordable, Old World-leaning red wines, you largely can’t go wrong with Lenz Winery. Winemaker Eric Fry makes food-friendly, balanced wines year in and year out — and doesn’t chase jamminess or high-alcohol in hot years.

Lenz Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot ($17) doesn’t have a catchy proprietary name, but it does delivery a lot of complexity and surprising cellar-ability for the money.

The nose is fruity, but not one-dimensional with cassis and black cherry fruit interspersed with notes of cigar box and brown spices.

Medium-lighter bodied, the palate shows intense — but not at all gobby or jammy — fruit with high-toned floral flavors, cigar box, spice and an earthy vein running its length. This is a lower-tannin red that relies on fresh acidity for structure.

On day two, some additional complexity emerged in the form of dried herbs. I’d recommend decanting for at least a couple hours.

Producer: Lenz Winery
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Blend: 40% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 10% petit verdot, 5% malbec
ABV: 12%

(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)