Going to Shinn Estate Vineyards was somehow like coming home after months abroad. Five years ago, I signed up for Shinn’s e-mail blog, which has ever since arrived weekly in my inbox. Those e-mails explaining the daily work on the farm, new ventures in organic and biodynamic practices, the trials and tribulations of a Long Island wine-maker – they spoke to me. They had somehow become a small piece of my week where I could forget city life and vicariously live through this passionate producer’s words. So to return to Shinn and to taste these wines, which I had read so much about, was like coming home.
Barbara Shinn and David Page started planting vines at Shinn Estate Vineyards in the year 2000. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in such a short period of time, because with only ten years under their belts, Shinn has managed to become synonymous with North Fork winemaking and pioneers of sustainable agriculture in Long Island. From natural fertilizers, cover crops and what Barbara describes as a “beneficial bug habitat,” Shinn Estates produces a number of compelling natural wines from their 20 acres of vineyards.
Sipping these wines, you can truly taste the passion in the bottle. These are wines of the earth, the air and the love of people who have vision. Tasting with Anthony Nappa in the cellar and watching him jump from one cask to another (with feverishexcitement) was refreshing in a way I can’t describe. These people love what they do. Not only that; like most winemakers in this area, Anthony shares the excitement over recent vintages that are still in cask and tank. There are some exciting wines in their cellar.
I can’t recommend Shinn Estate highly enough, and if you are ever in the North Fork, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit. They even have a bed and breakfast at the vineyard.
The WinesShinn Estate Vineyards “Red” (NV) ($14) – The nose showed rich red fruits, hints of herbs and cedar. It was vibrant on the palate with brisk acidity, showing sour cherry and sweet spices. The finish was medium long with sour berries. (88 points)
2007 Shinn Estate Vineyards Merlot Nine Barrels Reserve ($43) – The nose showed ripe red fruits, currant, spice, and roasted nuts. It was full-bodied and pleasing, yet structured on the palate with blackberry, citrus, cinnamon and herbs. The finish was long with fading black fruits. (92 points)
2007 Shinn Estate Vineyards Petit Verdot Estate ($36) – The nose showed dark, rich fruits with blackberry, and spice. On the palate, I found plum skins and a nice structure with hints of wood and spice. (89 points)
2005 Shinn Estate Vineyards Wild Boar Doe ($30) – The nose showed ripe strawberry with cedar and earth. On the palate, I found raspberry with tealeaf and wood tones. It was beautifully balanced with a gorgeous finish filled of red fruits and a hint of pepper. (90 points)
2008 Shinn Estate Vineyards Merlot ($25) – The nose showed wild berries, cherry, hints of undergrowth and a bit of menthol. On the palate, it was focused and structured, showing cherry and herbs with a nice long finish. (91 points)
2010 Shinn Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc First Fruit ($23) – On the nose, I found citrus, flower petals, minerals, and herb. On the palate, this was fresh and vibrant with mouth-filling fruits and lots of acidity to keep it fresh. The finish begged you to take another sip. This would be a great summer sipper. (90 points)
2009 Shinn Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Haven ($36) – The nose showed dried apricot, herbal tea, some oak and soft cheeses. On the palate, it had brisk acidity and a rich body with flavors of lemon and lime, white stone fruits and minerals. The finish was long, staying yet fresh. Beautiful. (91 points)
2010 Shinn Estate Vineyards Rosé ($16) – The nose showed peach skins, apricot and sour cream. On the palate, I found white cherry, cream, and sweet spices with structure and backbone. The finish was fresh and highly enjoyable. (89 points)
2010 Shinn Estate Vineyards Coalescence ($16) – On the nose, I found citrus, fresh herbs, a bit steely and hints of cedar. On the palate, it was fruit forward with citrus, white flowers and a nice splash of acidity that lasted into the fresh finish. (88 points)
Anthony Nappa Wines - (Shinn winemaker’s private line)
2010 Anthony Nappa Wines Pinot Noir Anomaly ($19) – On the nose, I found white-pitted fruits, flowers, stone and minerals. On the palate, it showed ripe pear and a little sweetness as it hit the back of the palate. The finish was fresh. (89 points)