5:33 AM Friday, December 2nd, 2011
Dear Friends of Shinn,
First, a reminder – we are open until 8:00PM tonight and starting at 5:00 PM we’ll have Palm Reading , $5 glasses of wine and $5 cheese plates. Come and join us for a festive start to the weekend!
It is a very still morning here on Oregon Rd. This time of year I expect the wind to be buffeting off the bluffs along Long Island Sound to the north of the vineyard – but no such thing is happening today. Barbara calls it quietude. The half moon has set, leaving an inky black sky speckled with a trillion glittering stars. Crisp, cold sub-freezing air greeted me when I ventured out to the winery earlier this morning to start the fire under our alembic still. Winter is still a few weeks away on the calendar, but it seems to be creeping up on us already. The weekend should be clear and mostly calm with temperatures rising into the low 50’s.
Our winemaker, Patrick Caserta has been hard at work this week pressing off the red wines. Stainless steel fermentation tanks are drained of the new wine before the skins and seeds are shoveled into the press. The wine is then settled in a separate tank before being moved to oak barrels where it will rest for 18 months – then it can be bottled.
In past years the pomace and lees of the new wine has gone directly to the compost pile after pressing. This year we are able to distill the remaining alcohol in our copper alembic still for our Shinn “shine”, a 120 proof spirit that we produce in tiny batches (50 – 375ml bottles). The first release has been bottled and will be available in the tasting room December 15th, just in time for the holidays. $24. We’ll also be releasing an Eau de Vie that we distilled from Seyval Blanc and Cabernet Franc.$24.
For those of you thinking about gift certificates or holiday wine you can purchase either here. online ordering. We’re taking phone orders between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM everyday. 631-804-0367 or 631-298-0216. Please give the gift of locally grown wine!
The sun is out and our honey girls are back to work. The vineyard is flowering with a dozen different plants - so there is plenty of nectar to gather and bring home to the hive.
|We have had some very warm days this week. The heat index reached well past 90 degrees yesterday, and as the day wore on the humidity began to rise. A few thunderstorms rolled down Oregon Rd. early last night, followed by a steady rain that ended around 9:30 PM. It is quiet here now, still overcast, but a little cooler. We may get a passing thunderstorm over the weekend, but otherwise it should be pleasant for visiting wine country.
Our vineyard crew has been busy raising trellis wires and thinning shoots – then heading back to the winery to bottle Chardonnay when the sun becomes too oppressive. Everyone has been working long days and long weeks to make sure that we stay on top of all the work.
Last week our new Copper Alembic still was fired up to produce 5 gallons of grappa from Chardonnay lees. Anthony was extremely careful to cut off the distillation before any off flavored esters could foul the flavor of the new distillate. It shows expressive flavors of tropical fruit and anise and is a hefty 120 proof. We’ll have approximately 50 - 375ml bottles available late this year. Stay tuned.
Barbara spent a big part of the day on Wednesday dripping equicetum tea through our irrigation system. It is a biodynamic homeopathic remedy used for disease suppression. Biodynamics is a holistic approach to farming that treats our entire vineyard as a living organism. The best way to learn about our Organic and Biodynamic farming approach is to join Barbara on a vineyard walk and discussion. She hosts the walk every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM. The cost is $12.50 per person which includes a tasting of four of our wines.
I have been opening both 2007 Clarity and 2007 Grace in our Wine Library over the last several weeks and will be doing so again this weekend and throughout the summer and autumn months. Come feast on these wines, and more - paired with some artisan cheeses and small bites of local farm flavor. The seating is limited and the conversation has been lively. Hourly between 1-4 PM Saturdays and Sundays. $25 per person. Call 631-804-0367 or 631-298-0216 to reserve.
|And that’s the news from Oregon Road!|
5:45 AM Friday, April 29th, 2011
Dear Friends of Shinn,
As I walked into the office and peered out the window I was greeted by another calm Friday morning. The pre-dawn sky has a thin layer of clouds that will lilely break away to reveal a perfect blue sky filled weekend. It looks like we’ll enjoy temperatures in the mid sixties for both Saturday and Sunday so this is going to be a weekend for outdoor activities. North Fork farmstands have re-opened, Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay beaches look inviting – and here at Shinn we have nearly finished sprucing up for the season – so we are excited to have everyone come join us out in wine country. And by the way, we have budbreak in the vineyard – so come enjoy the beginning of the 2011 growing season!
Yesterday afternoon while I was in the kitchen curing duck legs a delivery truck pulled in the driveway with a large crate on board. I fantacized that it might contain the copper alembic still that we have been waiitng to recieve for what seems like a lifetime. I put that thought aside and continued working on my project – until my cell phone rang. It was Barbara calling, and yes indeed the still is in the house! In the next few months we’ll start distilling brandy that will eventually be available for tasting. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime you are all welcome to stop by and take a look at what is a beautiful piece of artisan craftmanship.
Later this morning a crew from Southold Quarry will be installing the new marble countetops on the wine racks in our wine library adjacent to the barrel cellar. In a few days we’ll have handmade artisan walnut tasting tables delivered – then starting mid-May we’ll open the new library tasting room for private tastings. The tasting experience available in the library will include reserve wines paired with selected cheeses and local farm flavors. Come join us starting Saturday, May 7th. Reservations are encouraged. 631-804-0367.
I was awakened this morning by the light of the moon shining through a bedroom window – nature’s alarm clock. Our first few days of Spring have felt more like winter with chilly temperatures and even a little dusting of snow yesterday morning. It should warm up a little for the weekend and hopefully there will be plenty of sunshine.
Throughout the month of April we will be conducting barrel tastings of the 2010 vintage on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 and 3:30. We’ll taste three wines from barrel alongside the current vintage of each of these wines. There will be a lively discussion about the wines. Call 631-804-0367 to reserve. $20 per person.
Some of the first flowers of Spring are blooming around the Farmhouse and tasting room and the aroma of frost exiting the earth is everywhere. It is the same minerally smell that fills the glass of our new vintage of “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc. Our “First Fruit” is the first wine that we have released since entering the National Organic Program at the end of 2009. We are proud that it was grown entirely organically.
Barbara has been working with a group of Long Island and upstate grape growers to establish a sustainable certification program for New York State. It would be the first of its kind on the East Coast and would provide consumers with a better understanding of how wine is grown here. Once this program is in place we will have two labels on our wines at Shinn. One would read “grown sustainably” and one would read “grown organically”. Our estate wines, which are grown here on our home vineyard would have the organic label, and those wines produced from purchased fruit would carry the sustainable label. There is still work to do to ensure that the program is done right, but this should be a big win for New York State.
Our vineyard crew has been spending time assembling the new bee hives, finishing up tying vines in the vineyard, landscaping around the house and helping Anthony with bottling and labeling. Budbreak is still a few weeks away but the 2011 growing season feels like it is already upon us. There is no telling what lies ahead for the coming vintage, but we are ready!
5:28 AM Friday, March 11th, 2011
Dear Friends of Shinn,
It is a dark, gray, wet, sloppy, rainy March morning up here on Oregon Rd, better known as mud season in these parts. The rain should subside sometime mid-afternoon and the sun is expected to be back for the entire weekend. With the temperature expected to climb into the mid to upper fifties we are looking forward to a couple of spring like days, perfect for cruising out to the North Fork to pick up a few bottles of our newly released 2010 Rose of Merlot and Cabernet Franc or our also newly released 2010 “First Fruit” Sauvignon Blanc. With the release of these two wines we get the first look at how perfect the 2010 growing season was – and is now preserved in the bottle. Both wines show off ripeness rarely experienced, while highlighting the natural acidity, salinity and minerality that Long Island wines have come to be known for. Get some and celebrate 2010!
Between bottling the 2010 white wines and dodging the weather our vineyard crew has been tying down the last of our vines to the fruiting wire, setting up the vineyard for the upcoming growing season. Barbara has been ordering seeds and plants that will allow us to continue our edible hedgerow project, and Anthony has put the order together for our new copper Alembic Pot Still which should arrive from Portugal sometime in the next six to eight weeks. If all goes well we should be producing some artisan brandy during the 2011 harvest season.
On Saturday March 19th between 2-5 P.M. we will be hosting our first “Afternoon of Jazz” here at the Shinn Estate Farmhouse with the Evan Sherman Trio. We will serve wine and cheese. $20. Call 631-804-0367 to reserve. Evan Sherman is currently a student at Millburn High School in New Jersey. He began playing the drums at age 5, inspired by Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones). At 11, Evan toured 10 European cities with the Sussex County Youth Orchestra. He has played at many clubs in the New York Metro area including Smalls, Fat Cat, Jules, Puppet’s, Trumpets, Shanghai Jazz, Cecil’s and other venues. For 4 years, Evan performed at the Jazz Standard every Sunday with the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. He continues to lead a trio at Samurai Sushi in New Jersey every Saturday for over 2 years. Evan has developed by attending programs such as New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Jazz for Teens program and Jazz in July at UMass Amherst. In 2009, Evan attended the Vail Jazz Workshop where he studied with one of his idols, Lewis Nash. In January 2010, he performed at various events for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California as part of the Grammy Jazz Ensemble. Growing up in the New York area has made it possible to play with many top jazz musicians including: Kenny Burrell, Abraham Burton, Roy Hargrove, Hubert Laws, John Lee, James Moody, Tim Ries, Dave Stryker, Julius Tolentino, Mark Whitfield, Steve Wilson and many others. Evan has studied with many esteemed jazz artists in the New York area and is currently studying with drummers, Neal Smith, Willie Jones III, and others.
On Saturday March 26th at 7:00 PM come celebrate the beginning of Spring and the release of five new wines at our Spring Shinn Dig Wine Dinner. We’ll serve five courses and five new wines including 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Pinot Blanc, 2010 Rose, 2008 Estate Merlot and 2008 Wild Boar Doe. We’ll prepare a sumptuous feast of North Fork inspired dishes – mostly from the wood burning oven. Call 631-804-0367 or 631-298-0216 to reserve. Our Shinn Dig Wine Dinners have very limited seating so do not wait to call. $110 per person includes tax and service.