Last week I finally made it to the tasting room at Shinn Estate Vineyards - a winery I’ve been hoping to visit for quite some time - and I am so glad I did. The comfortable atmosphere of Shinn’s tasting room is perfect for sampling their lovely, delicious wines, and I was quite impressed with the wines. It was also refreshing to learn about Shinn’s grape-growing practices; their approach is so natural. This not only is important in terms of treating the land and produce with respect and care - it also allows the taster to experience fully the natural aromas and flavors of the grape types in the wines. Shinn’s wines define “natural.”
We opened with the 2010 “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc, a pale, crisp, clean wine very indicative of its grape varietal, with white citrus, orchard fruit, white blossom, herbal notes, and a hint of tropical fruit, and bright acidity to cleanse the palate and accompany local Long Island seafood, followed by a long finish. This wine is elegant yet unpretentious, very food friendly, and so enjoyable.
The 2007 Brut Sparkling Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chardonnay. The wine is a light golden color with aromas of white and green fruit, green apple, baked bread, and hints of tart citrus and nut, and the flavors confirmed the aromas. I loved the bubbly yet creamy and smooth texture of this sparkling wine.
Next was the 2009 “Haven” Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, a lovely white Bordeaux style blend that is pale yellow/gold in color, and shows aromas of light citrus and grapefruit, pear, white blossoms, and a hint of spice and oak, imparting beautiful aromas and flavors and adding complexity to the wine. The citrus was confirmed on the palate, as well as a bit more emphasis on orchard fruits, and some gentle spice, good balance with bright acidity, and a long finish.
We then moved on to the 2009 Pinot Blanc, a yellow/gold wine with aromas of bright lemon, orchard fruit (especially pear), and a hint of stoniness, and these characteristics were confirmed on the palate with lots of lemony acidity softened a bit by the notes of pear, followed by a long finish. This wine has a great deal of character and presence and I enjoyed it very much.
One of my favorites of the tasting was the 2010 Rose, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This is a very dry rose, making it particularly food friendly, and it displays characteristics of watermelon, strawberry, a hint of raspberry, and a bit of unique freshness both on the nose and the palate. The wine is extremely clean and excellently structured, with a long finish. I absolutely adored this rose and would love to taste it again. I have tasted a lot of rose wines this summer and Shinn’s 2010 Rose ranks among my favorites.
Next was the 2010 Chardonnay, which reminded me a bit of Chablis, due to its light color, bright citrus and soft orchard fruit characteristics, and gentle spice, upbeat acidity and nice balance, and a long finish leaving the palate feeling very clean. This is another wine that would pair particularly well with fresh local seafood.
We then moved on to the reds, beginning with the NV “Red,” a non-vintage blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. I loved the bit of wildness introduced to the wine with that Syrah blended in - it gives the wine such character. The wine is full of fascinating notes of both red and dark fruit, berries, plum, tart cherry, earth, and spice. I think this wine is quite food friendly but also seems to work well on its own.
Next was the 2008 Estate Merlot, which has just 5% Malbec blended in. This wine is excellent and I enjoyed it very much. It is ruby colored, and shows characteristics of plum and berry, both dark and red fruit, and lots of baking spice and vanilla. I think this was the most sophisticated wine I tasted at Shinn and I would love to have this wine again.
I was fascinated with the 2008 “Wild Boar Doe,” a Meritage blend of Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. The wine is very dark in color, and dark in aroma and flavor with notes of dark fruit and deep spice, and a nice balance of acidity and firm tannins. I loved the depth and complexity of this wine and I think it would be ideal for the cooler months and for pairing with meats.
We finished with the 2007 Malbec, a very dark wine, almost a blackish purple, that showed characteristics very indicative of Malbec - blueberry, soft floral aromas, earth, and dark chocolate, with just a bit of spice. This beautiful example of Malbec was a wonderful finish to the tasting.
One wine that instantly made me smile that we had early in the tasting was the 2010 Wickham’s Pear Cider, made of different pear varieties, the flavor is that of pure soft fresh pear, easy on the nose and the palate, and perfect for sipping on the porch in the warmer months.
So the next time you’re out tasting wines on Long Island’s North Fork, be sure to visit David and Barbara at Shinn Estate Vineyards and enjoy their excellent wines.