There is no question that merlot is king on the North Fork. All vineyards have a percentage of their land with it planted. Year after year it shows very well.
In 2009, the weather was not as hot as say 2007, 2010 or more recently 2012, but the year was long and warm steady dry temperatures and conditions allowed vineyards to hang fruit into November to make up for some not so pleasant mid summer growing days.
Shinn Estate Vineyards 2009 Estate Merlot ($27) is their entry-level merlot. Their reserve merlot is called Nine Barrels. This is Shinn Estate Vineyards, everyday merlot that is delicious with a roast chicken or just as nice with a group of friends and some good conversation.
Aromas of blackberry, plum, black pepper and subtle herb dominate the nose. Hints of ripe fresh sweet berry fruit mingle in the background as well. after some time in the glass exotic spice, meaty, Unami flavors like mushroom and hints of fresh earth appear along with some sweet vanilla and cigar box cedar.
The palate shows more ripe fruit flavors like plum, blackberry, dark berry fruit and black cherry. Great chewy tannins and delicious mouth-watering acidity brighten the palate. bright. Flavors of spice, clove, cardamom, whole peppercorns, smoke, and fresh espresso round out the back-end of the palate. Subtle hints of bay leaf and tobacco appear.
The finish which is lengthy, brings flavors of cherry, vanilla and savory herb.
A solid wine that despite the price just shy of $30, it does over-deliver.