May 21, 2021
A recent trend in the North Fork wine country is the takeover of wineries by new owners, who often change the name. So Martha Clara is now RG/NY, and Shinn is now Rose Hill. Pretty name. And the new owners have made some nice changes to the place, too. I didn’t go inside, but the outdoor patio area is lovely, paved with flagstones and shaded by big umbrellas, with one area in the sun if you are so inclined. It was a perfect day to sit outside, brightly sunny and just breezy enough to make a sweater or sweatshirt welcome.
We were there with my brother and sister-in-law, visiting from upstate, now that we are all vaxxed. What a delight to hug people again! We decided to try Rose Hill because it was new, a bit off the beaten path—it’s on Oregon Road—and they serve a variety of lunchy snacks. According to the web page, you need to make a reservation, which we did, through Open Table (one of my favorite apps), but it turned out not to be necessary. Still, I would make reservations as long as occupancy is limited, so you don’t get turned away.
Several hand-written signs in the parking area (which is quite small, by the way; they should consider ways to make more spaces) direct you to go around to the back for the entrance to the tasting room. A few parking spaces are reserved for the B&B, in a house at the front of the property. Around the back, the soft splash of fountains frames the entrance to the patio, where a server indicated we could choose any seat we wanted. We took a nicely sized table for four, and a very pleasant young woman rushed over to clean it off before we sat down. A nice touch—Rose Hill has continued the Shinn practice of putting large bottles of chilled water plus glasses on the table.
The menu is accessed through a QR code card on the table, and by the time a waiter came by to ask us if we’d “had time” to look at it—clearly expecting this table of people of a certain age not to know what to do with a QR code—we had read it and decided on our order. They offer two different flights, which have one overlap, both consisting of five wines for $24, so each couple got one flight to share, which was plenty to drink. We also got the cheese and charcuterie board for $26 and a basket of roasted sweetened nuts for $11, both of which were very good. Another nice touch—the disposable plates are made of bamboo, which means they are recyclable.
We had a pleasant afternoon, sitting and talking and catching up on a year’s worth of news, but our one disappointment was the wine. No wine was undrinkable, but no wine seemed worth the cost. Since my brother wanted to buy a couple of wines to take back as thank you gifts, we drove over the Vintage wine shop after the tasting.
* 2019 Sparkling Rosé $42
My flight started with a slight, pleasant sparkler, made with the méthode champenoise. It has a typical bready aroma and a bit of sweetness, plus citrus.
- 2019 Coalescence $25
We had liked the Shinn version of this wine, by the same name, and the aroma was promising, nicely flowery. However, this blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot blanc, riesling, and semillon lacked depth and complexity, and was very soft and light, with a bit of citrus flavor.
- 2020 Pinot Blanc
Again, we commented that there was “not much to it.” The wine had aromas and tastes of mineral and unripe pear.
- 2020 Rose Hill Rosé $28
Both flights included this merlot-based rosé, which my brother characterized as “highly ordinary,” with a “soft mouth feel” and “very little character.” It is a very light wine, dry, in the Provençal style.
- Non-vintage Red Blend $25
Since this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, and cabernet franc is made with grapes from both 2017 and 2018, they call it non-vintage. It has a very piney aroma, which my brother humorously dubbed “eau de Pine-Sol.” A bit tannic, dry, but again, lacking depth and substance.
New Release Flight
- 2020 First Fruit $28
Steel-fermented sauvignon blanc, very light.
- 2020 Concrete Blond $42
Macari also makes a wine in a concrete “egg,” in their case a rosé, while this is a sauvignon blanc. This wine has a lovely aroma of pear and honeysuckle, and a flowery taste, though a bit sour on the end, and has “more presence” than the first wine.
- Rose Hill Rosé
I already talked about this one.
- 2020 Rosé $25
This was my favorite wine of the day, a more robust merlot-based rosé, with nice strawberry flavor and aroma.
- 2020 Cabernet Franc $32
Though this has some nice pomegranate flavor, overall it is rather thin, with no body. As my brother commented, “When the best thing you can say about a tasting is that the nuts are good, you have a problem.”
Reasons to visit: Nice location a bit off the beaten track, with a lovely outdoor patio area; good cheese and charcuterie board and roasted nuts; the 2020 Rosé, and maybe the Concrete Blond. Most of the other wines are drinkable, but not very flavorful or complex, and we felt the price/value ratio was a bit off. You can stay in the B&B and do tastings.