Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine: Shinn Estate Vineyards 2004 Merlot, Estate (North Fork of Long Island)

Shinn Estate Vineyards

2004 Merlot, Estate
(North Fork of Long Island)

Sometimes we get so caught up in the story of wine that we forget about the juice in the bottle.

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. 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.

A couple of weeks ago, 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 its true self, but you'd better get yours now, it won't last long.

Reviewed December 12, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Shinn Estate Vineyards
Vineyard: Estate
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
Grapes: Merlot (81%), Cabernet Franc (19%)
Price: 750ml $25.00

Review Date: 12/12/2006

The Reviewer

Lenn Thompson

Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,
Long Island Press, Long Island Wine Gazette, Edible East End
and Two words describe his taste in wine — balance and nuance. Lenn prefers food-friendly, elegant wines to jammy, over-extracted fruit bombs and heavy-handed oak. When reviewing, Lenn tastes each wine three times — alone right after opening, with food, and again the next day — believing that 90-second reviews are unrealistic and not how the average person enjoys wine.