"Other 47" Wine Challenge Week 1 - New York

2007 Shinn Estate Wild Boar Doe

It has been longer than I care to admit since I last tried a Long Island Bordeaux Blend and with faint memories of a rather thin, slightly vegetal wine with little to no fruit flavors, I decided to commence the Other 47 Challenge with Shinn Estate's playfully named 2007 Wild Boar Doe, a Bordeaux blend of 40% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Malbec, 15% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Why review a 2007 that is now probably almost impossible to get? The main reason is that I happened to have one on hand. The second reason is that I've read several favorable reviews of the wine and was fairly confident that it would represent Long Island well.

Shinn Estates, owned by Barbara Shinn and David Page, released their first vintage in 2002. Two years earlier, Barbara and David sold their West Village restaurants and planted their first vineyard on Long Island with a strong focus on organic and biodynamic farming. Whether you think biodynamics is nonsense or an enlightened farming system, or something in between, it's hard to argue that Shinn Estates isn't making some of the best and most interesting wines on Long Island's North Fork. For those wineries seeking commercially comforting consistency, Shinn Estates' reliance on organics, biodynamics and native yeast fermentation can seem downright foolhardy and reckless. For Shinn Estates, it's a way of life.

While vintage is becoming less of a factor for many large, high tech wineries, at Shinn Estates, vintage matters. One of the benefits for consumers is the ability to experience a bottle of wine that does a particularly good job of representing a particular time and place. The downside is that next year's vintage may differ markedly, depending on the activities of the winemaker, for better or worse.

Fortunately, 2007 was a great year for Long Island vineyards and it shows. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I stunned by this wine. For the money, it is as good, if not better, than anything I've had from California, Oregon and Washington (my usual wine sources). In my mind, thin, vegetal and earthy have been replaced by - or at least augmented with - juicy, medium-bodied and balanced fruit and earthy flavors. For most wine drinkers, this wine will work just as well before or after dinner as it does during dinner. Meaty, tobacco flavors were perfectly accented with spices, dark plum and cherry notes, and the moderately long finish called for either a bite of food or another drink! Even after six years, the tannins are still evident but not excessively so, and the wine will probably continue to evolve nicely.

The 2009 vintage is currently available and can be purchased at the winery or online. Fortunately, Shinn Estate can ship to most states (see below). I haven't tried the 2009, but according to Lenn Thompson at New York Cork Report, one of the most respected sources of information on New York wines, "I’ve tasted several vintages of WBD and this might be my favorite."

If you haven't tried a Long Island Bordeaux blend, or if you're like me and it's been a long time, I highly recommend you add it to your shopping list. If you can't find Shinn Estate, other top Long Island Bordeaux blend producers to look for include: Macari Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards and Pellegrini Vineyards.

If you're one of those adventurous types that would rather visit the winery than order direct, visit our Long Island wine country page for photos, articles, reviews and a link to a Long Island winery map.

Shinn ships to the following states:
District of Columbia
North Carolina
North Dakota
New Mexico
New York
South Carolina
West Virginia

Published: March 25, 2013

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