TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



Shinn Estates Vineyard, Malbec, 2007

Posted by Torsten 12 Jan 2011

There is a lot that could be written about Shinn, but as I have done that recently I just point you to my article 'You can't make red wine on Long Island' - Shinn Estate Vineyards, making local wine in a global world. For now just let me say that I bought this Malbec at a recent visit to a beautiful estate on Long Island that is currently being transformed to biodynamic production. Interestingly, the Shinn Malbec comes in a half-litre bottle - they only make Malbec in good years and in 2007 there was only enough for 1344 of those small bottles (selling at $35 each).

In order to avoid any bias I might have had from being welcomed so warmly at Shinn, I figured the wine would have to be tasted blind. So I took it with me to a recent Wine Rambler full committee meeting in Munich and wrapped it properly to hide its identity.

What I presented to the panel was a wine of beautiful shiny colour. The nose featured an interesting conversation of fruity elements (cherry, strawberry, blueberry and reduced berries), a more robust leathery earthiness and bread dough aromas with a hint of vanilla. The audience was reminded of a rich red fruit/cherry jelly with vanilla custard - in a very fresh and enticing way.

Cherry made its return on the tongue too where it was very juicy - not overly sweet though, more like a 'respectable cherry juice' as Sabine put it. Flavours of cherry, spice, almond and fresh herbs come together in a wine that, thanks to its acidity, is very lively - robust, yes, but by no means heavy. You can taste the oak, for instance in the medium to long chocolate/cocoa finish, but it is not too strong. The tannins are well integrated too. The Shinn Malbec is a well made, round and very drinkable wine.

Half Litre bottle sounds odd,

Half Litre bottle sounds odd, but can't blame the winery for thinking practical! On the other hand, 35 USD is a lot for a wine that is " round and very drinkable", or am I mistaken? I always have this feeling of Long Island wines being overpriced. A bit less would be adequate, but I guess the demand is high enough. Greets, Alex


Re: Half Litre bottle sounds odd,

Your question can probably be answered in several ways. First of all in terms of general demand for LI wines, as you said. Secondly in terms of demand for Shinn wine in particular - and what I remember from my visit they have no problem selling their produce without even looking into West Coast or foreign distribution. Then there is the fact that this is a wine only made in small quantities every other year, so the amount of work required in relation to wine to be sold is not favourable to a low price.

In my draft of this wine review I had concluded with a line that, under the above circumstances, I wouldn't see the price as an issue - but then I realised that I have no clear picture on the price level for good Malbec in New York state. All of us really enjoyed it, a point I could have perhaps stressed a little more. It does not chance the fact that, at least as seen from a European price level, you pay a little extra for drinking something rare.


Well, if the wine is good it

Well, if the wine is good it always justifies the price. Just have memories of rather costly LI wines that were average, but that wasn't at Shinn. Greets