Hidden away on Oregon Road, Shinn includes both a lovely rustic tasting room and their own inn, called the Farmhouse. Considering that the owners also own the restaurant Home in New York City, I’ll bet the food is good there! However, we had come for a tasting after our disappointing attempt to visit Vineyard 48. As we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a huge windmill, and I remembered that I read that they powered the winery using solar and wind power only. The outside area has been attractively redone, with rustic benches and natural stone walls, but it was too chilly to stay outside, so in we went, where we found a warm welcome, a happy crowd, and Panda, the resident black and white dog. Rocks anchor the menus to the bar, inspirational words painted on weathered wood line the walls, and a blackboard notes that they are now open until 8 on Fridays and Saturdays.
A tasting is $10 for any four wines, chosen from an interesting menu that includes six whites and five reds, plus Wickham’s pear cider, their own “sherry,” eau de vie, and grappa. We decide to share two tastings, three whites, four reds, and the “sherry.” (They also sell their own vinegar and granola, and have a small snack menu outside.) One of the servers gives us detailed information about each wine, while the other does not, but the menu gives some guidance.
1) 2013 Coalescence $16
We have liked and bought this blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling in the past, so we opted to start with it. Aromas of pear and fresh cut grass and tastes of baked pear and citrus, maybe lemon grass, with some tangerine at the end, was how we described this to each other. Though not for sipping, it would be okay with seafood in a cream sauce. However, we don’t like it as much as we did in the past, which shows the importance of tasting new vintages before you buy.
2) 2013 First Fruit $22
This is a lovely wine, a Sauvignon Blanc, with faint honeysuckle and orange aromas and lots of fruit, a bit petillant on the tongue. The initial sweetness of the taste could be off putting to some, but overall it is not too sweet, especially at the end. I could see sipping this on the porch if summer ever comes!
3) 2012 Pinot Blanc $35
An unfiltered barrel-aged (11 months) wine, you can see the cloudiness in the glass. They serve it at room temperature so you can savor the taste. Wow. Interesting. This has a very full mouth feel, almost as if you could chew it. I don’t know that I’d want it with food, but it would be fun to include it in a tasting and see what people thought of it. We smell pine or forest floor and taste some vanilla.
4) Red Blend $16
One of the servers cleaned up the glass that was to be used for our red tasting, so our server rinses our glass with some of the bottle of water they give each group. As the name indicates, this is a blend, of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Though it was made using grapes from 2011 and 2012, it is not a vintage wine, and the menu describes it as “medium bodied.” I would agree: this is an ordinary wine, with lots of tannins, a bit on the thin and bitter side, with tastes of berries and sour apple.
5) 2010 Estate Merlot $26
This is a fairly typical Long Island Merlot, with a sweet berry aroma and taste. My husband says “baked sweet potatoes.” Maybe. Good.
6) 2010 Wild Boar Doe $32
Again, this is a blend of all five of their estate grown reds, with a pleasant aroma of fresh hay and berries and a delicious taste that is reminiscent of a French Bordeaux (no surprise, given the name!). This is a very appealing wine and would be good for a special occasion, with steak or lamb or pasta with a red sauce. 7) 2010 Cabernet Franc $38
A bit of a barnyard odor and tastes of berry but also some burnt toast with honey. It doesn’t bowl me over, but my husband likes it more than I do.
8) 2009 Veil “Sherry” $48 for a 375 ml bottle
Made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon late-harvest grapes, this is a sweet and herbal sherry-like drink with notes of honey and a bit of goldenrod scent. Pleasant, though we prefer Spanish sherries; it would make a nice before-dinner cocktail, maybe on ice or mixed with something else.
Reasons to visit: pleasant tasting room in the midst of scenic farm fields; the First Fruit, the Pinot Blanc, and the Wild Boar Doe; the chance to taste some other types of drinks like their sherry (we’ll have to return to try the eau de vie and the grappa!); the chance to support a vineyard that cares about the Earth as well as the earth. 9)