Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck is putting the final touches on its outdoor patio and new grill area.  The tasting patio is an extension right off of the entrance to the wine library, and is a great improvement to what used to host a few at tables and benches between two buildings. Now, they can accommodate many more with intimate seating, or groups who want to relax with a flight of Shinn Estate wines.

The patio, which started construction a little over a month ago, transformed the tasting area, but what was not lost in the addition is the cozy feeling one would expect when sipping on a glass of First Fruit, Wild Board Doe or one of their cocktails inspired by the spirits co-owner David Page distills on site. Now, you’ll also find comfortable benches, cozy chairs and a place to rest your drink while you snack on one of the small bites found on the new grilling menu– a menu that is inspired by the people from Central America who, as Page puts it “…do do so much of the work that keeps the wheels of Shinn Estate Vineyards turning.”

shinn-patio3I checked out the new set up last weekend. As always, the tasting room staff was helpful in guiding my group along the way in our tasting and helping us pair small bites with glasses of wine.

You will usually see David, a former executive chef in Manhattan and elsewehre,  behind the grill, but the tasting  room staff is more than capable of handling the grilling duties too.  On Sunday, Alycia cooked up some small bites for me and my family as we sat around the winery polishing off a few bottles.

The Roasted Spiced Garbanzo Beans ($3) were crunchy with a bit of spice that went well with a glass of Shinn Estate Vineyards non-vintage “Red.”

Grilled Tortillas with Barbara’s Honey ($5) were a savory and sweet treat. Made with the honey from hives that David’s wife and fellow co-owner Barbara Shinn tends to on the property, they were delicious with sips of “Veil” — their dry desert wine that is made somewhat in the style of Sherry.

Chicken tacos ($12) made with local Browder’s Birds — grilled and seasoned to perfection — went quite nicely with their “First Fruit” sauvignon blanc.

But my favorite dish, one that I ate almost by myself was the Chili Roasted Olives with Lemon ($6). These brought me back to Sonoma County and my honeymoon.

I must admit, that before September 2008 I disliked olives. Then at a restaurant in the heart of Sonoma, they served warmed olives as a table accompaniment. At Shinn Estate Vineyards, the olives were served warm and delicious with a hint of rosemary, lemon and a dusting of chili spice — by roasting the olives it intensifies their flavors.  Try these olives with Shinn’s “Nine Barrels” or even better yet, sit down with a glass of “Veil” as I did, and you won’t be sorry.

The Tasting Patio is open on weekends only during their normal tasting hours throughout the summer.