You can learn a lot about a region’s vintages simply by tasting its unoaked whites wines — especially wines from producers that you trust and that aren’t big into in-winery manipulations or additions.

Shinn Estate Vineyards 2011 “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc ($23) tells the story of a cool, wet and grey season most famously marked by the passing of Hurricane Irene right over Long Island.

Herby and somewhat vegetal on the nose — think bell pepper — the nose also shows pear and pear skin, hints of grapefruit and hay aromas.

Grapefruit flavors peek through a garden of herbs and green vegetation, and while the acidity is uber-fresh, there just isn’t enough fruit or weight to really bring it into balance.

In years like 2011, it’s always smart to steer towards top producers — and Shinn Estate is one — but this wine is a reminder that even top-tier wineries are at Mother Nature’s mercy.

Producer: Shinn Estate Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13.1%
Price: $23*

(2 out of 5, Average)