By Lenn Thompson, Editor and Publisher

Shinn_05nineAs you've read here and elsewhere, to tell the story of the 2005 vintage is really to tell two separate tales — one before the October deluge and one after.

That deluge lasted eight days and dumped as many as 20 inches of rain on some vineyards. Some wineries weren't willing to risk waiting, harvesting their reds before the rains hit. One even stopped picking chardonnay, leaving it to the elements, to pick reds. 

The before-or-after decision wasn't a simple one, nor was it one-dimensional. If you waited until after the rains, how long did you wait? How much of your crop was rendered useless due to berry splitting?

2005 could have been a banner year, but it ended up being an inconsistent one from producer to producer.

The merlot (85%), petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec that went into this Shinn Estate Vineyards Nine Barrels Merlot ($43) after the rains, and they clearly made good decisions along the way.

The nose is expressive, showing rich, intense blackberry and blueberry fruit with Thai basil, violet and subtle toasty vanilla accents. 

On the medium-bodied palate, the fruit is ripe, but restrained, with dark fruit flavors (blackberry, blueberry and a little plum) with more Thai basi/anise character along with sweet, minty herbs. The finish is medium-long with blueberries and a lightly earthy note at the very end.

Ripe, well-incorporated tannins of medium intensity make this wine approachable today, but short-term (3-5 years) development is easy to predict.

Only 225 cases were made (9 French oal barrels, 4 of which were new).

NOTE: David Page, co-owner of Shinn Estate Vineyards has announced (via Twitter) that anyone mentioning this LENNDEVOURS review gets a 20% discount on purchases of this wine.

Producer: Shinn Estate Vineyards
ABV: 12.8%
Rating: (3.5 out of 5 | Very good-to-Delicious)

(Ratings Guide)