Shinn Estate Vineyards, still a relative newcomer to the Long Island wine scene, gets a ton of press for its "green" vineyard practices and its owners' pedigree as Manhattan restaurateurs. I've written about them several times here on LENNDEVOURS and elsewhere.
And yes, it's true that David Page and Barbara Shinn employ several progressive sustainable and near-organic farming techniques in their North Fork vineyard. Their Greenwich Village restaurant, Home, is also a successful exhibition of local, seasonal food and wine.
But it's important not to forget about the fermented grape juice they bottle and stop with a cork. Their wines are almost always elegant, aromatic and enormously food friendly. Now sold out, their 2005 "first fruit" Sauvignon-Blanc Semillon ($21) and 2005 "Home" Chardonnay ($16) are both crisp, fresh white wines that are clearly meant for seafood and sea-side sipping.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, the New York Times picked Shinn Estate Vineyards' 2003 Estate Merlot as the best Thanksgiving pairing. Of course that wine was sold out long before the article came out. But, Shinn Estate Vineyards 2004 Estate Merlot ($24) is available, and it seems to have similar food-friendly qualities.
Medium ruby red in the glass, the nose is youthful with fresh red cherries, plums and toasty oak aromas. On the palate, similar red fruit character is accented by subtle nutmeg and clove, and gently gripping tannins.
This is still a young wine and I don't think this wine is showing all that it's capable of. Another six to twelve months in bottle will help it open up and reveal it's true self, but you'd better get yours now, it won't last long.