June 30, 2012
I really want to like Shinn’s wines as much as I like the atmosphere of the tasting room and their philosophy. They believe in “sustainable farming practices,” and try to do as much by hand as possible. They are also off the main roads, on an appealing country lane, and their tasting room is rustic—and often inhabited by a friendly dog. I’ve never encountered a limo group there, though on this warm sunny day it is crowded, with a large party out in the wine cellar area. However, there is room at the bar for us to stand and do a tasting. They have about 11 wines available, charged per taste, with 3 costing $8. We opt to share two flights of 3, 3 whites and then 3 reds.
1) 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, $22
The aroma is like slightly overripe fruit. The taste is a bit pear-y, with a fair amount of fruit and a tart aftertaste, but too sweet for me. Very cold, it could be nice for sipping.
2) 2010 Chardonnay $19
Again, that slightly overripe fruit aroma, and this one has tastes of over-ripe pineapple, and maybe mango. It is steel-fermented, which tends to bring out the fruit, but again, this is a bit too sweet for my taste, though others may like it.
3) 2011 Coalescence $16
As implied by the name, this is a blend, of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and gewürztraminer. The knowledgeable and friendly server tells us that this is a field pressed wine—in other words, the grapes are pressed together, rather than blending the wines after pressing. This has a pleasantly flowery aroma—maybe a bit of honeysuckle. Finally, a white that’s not too sweet! This has a pleasant citrusy taste, reminiscent of blood oranges (which I’ve had a soft spot for ever since I was in Rome with a terrible cold and ate an entire bag of them). There’s a slight tingle at the end. We buy 2 bottles to take home.
4) 09 Estate Merlot $26
Now we start the reds. The aroma is of berry and dirt (they probably say mineral), the typical smell of the North Fork terroir. We taste cherry and tobacco (a little), and some mineral. Good and nicely dry, so the fruit is there but not obtrusive.
5) Wild Boar Doe $31
Love the name! This is—duh—a typical Bordeaux blend of merlot, petit verdot, malbec, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon. If it weren’t $31, we would have bought it. The aroma is lovely, with lots of cherry/berry, and the flavor also has plenty of fruit, with a nice balance of sweet and dry—not too much of either.
6) 2008 Nine Barrels Reserve Merlot $42
They only made nine barrels of this, hence the name. This is another we would buy if not for the price. The aroma is ripe black cherry—just delicious. The flavor is totally mouth-filling, with again a nice balance and depth of fruit (cherry/blackberry) flavor.
Reasons to visit: off the beaten track on a pretty country road (take me home…); the vineyard uses good organic practices; ’11 Coalescence for a white and ’08 Nine Barrels Reserve Merlot for a red; they have a bed and breakfast which gets good reviews.