Wine We Drink: Shinn Estate Vineyards – Six Barrels Reserve Merlot 2002

I think this bottle is from one of our first visits to Shinn in Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island. We were lucky enough to arrive on a slow day and Barbara walked with just Liz and me out into the vineyard to chat about the types of grapes planted and planned and the biodynamic grape farming processes they employ (She does this as a paid tour now and so worth it). They’ve grown the vineyard and winery from humble beginnings of a few existing vines on a couple acres with a shell of a farmhouse to a beautiful bed and breakfast, working production area and acreage full to the brim with healthy vines of varied varietals.

The Six Barrels was quite ready for the glass. Still some fruit left on the front and a nice easy slide to the finish. What I thought was interesting is the ‘ashy’ characteristic* that many of the Long Island wines exhibit (especially in the Cab Francs and Merlots) had mellowed out into a dark chocolate. We paired this wine with turkey burgers smothered with grilled mushrooms and goat cheese and a microgreen salad. Perfect.

* Some dispute that Long Island, and specifically the North Fork, has no discernable terroir of its own. Since our first tour of the vineyards out east in 2001 we could taste a consistent underlying characteristic with all the wines regardless of grape varietal that could only be explained by their shared geography, soil type and weather. Sounds textbook terroir to me.  – J F Grossen, Chief Executive Oenophile (CEO)




“I just don’t see Big Wine allowing labels on wine reading something like this: This wine was dealcoholized by reverse osmosis and smoothed out with micro-oxygenation. Ingredients: Water, alcohol, grapes, chestnut tannin, oak extract, oak dust, genetically modified yeast, urea, enzymes, grape juice, tartaric acid, bentonite, and Velcorin.” – Alice Feiring, The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

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