By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
Plus, this was a finalist from Long Island and it showed extremely well in our blind flight or Long Island reds.
As you'll no doubt see as more are released, these 2007 reds are big, mouth-filling and — in some cases — like nothing Long Island has seen before. This wine is one such wine.
Shinn Estate Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc ($39) may well be a new benchmark for cabernet franc on the North Fork. It's also a wine that is sure to spark some debate among cabernet franc lovers, but we'll get to that in a moment.
Fermented slowly, with extended skin contact — the kind of 40-50 day contact one would only attempt with perfectly ripe fruit — and then aged in new French oak for 18 months, this wine's nose is exotically spiced with layers of dark chocolate, bay leaf, and woodsy sassafras beneath intensely ripe black chrerry and blueberry compote aromas.
Plump and mouth-filling, the palate shows ripe dark fruit flavors with exotic, Moroccan spice, dark roast coffee, more woodsy sasafrass, and a subtle bay leaf note. The tannins are medium-intense, ripe and round.
Even at 14.7% ABV, high for the region, this wine is impeccably balanced and the finish is long and spiced.
So where's the debatable point?
Many cabernet franc fanatics will miss the more overt green flavors and aromas. That's not say that this isn't identifiable as cabernet franc. The expressive aromatics, exotic spice and woodsy dried herb components reveal it's identity, but the 'green' is expressed differently here, making this a wine that many cab franc lovers will still enjoy, but that will also appeal to those that are turned off by vegetal flavors.
It's also important to remember that this wine is still a baby with big, precocious fruit that will likely take a step back with time, allowing more of the secondary flavors and aromas to emerge.
Producer: Shinn Estate Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
(4 out of 5 | Delicious, Distinctive