By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Shinn_07merlotShinn Estate Vineyards gets a lot of well-deserved attention for their Estate Merlot.

New York Times chief wine critic Eric Asimov regularly points to it as a favorite. And I consistently appreciate the wine for its quality-to-price ratio (QPR) and it's elegant, food-friendly style. 

That's why I came away from my tasting of the Shinn Estate Vineyards 2007 Estate Merlot ($25) a bit disappointed. I expected ripe — this is 2007 we're talking about — but as much as I enjoyed Rebellion, this wine's wild fermented sibling, I wasn't quite as into this one.

The nose brings big blackberry and black plum aromas with toasty vanilla, nice coffee and spice notes, as well as hints of lavender.

Medium-to-full bodied  and plush on the palate, there is a dense core or rich dark fruit on the attack, with a lengthy coffee note on the finish. But in between, the wine is a little oaky with toasty vanilla and a light bacony edge.

It's soft on the palate and could use a bit more structure (either acidity or tannin) as well.

It's also worth mentioning that the same 14.7% ABV that is balanced so well in the 2007 Cabernet Franc, peeks through here with a bit of heat after the coffee flavors fade at the end.

Producer: Shinn Estate Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 14.7%

Price: $25*

Rating:  25 (2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)

(Ratings Guide)