Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Field Vineyards-Unkempt WASP Splendor on the North Fork

We have been acquainted with Ros and Christian Baiz for several years and even helped them harvest grapes one recent November a few years ago. There vineyard was not fully realized then and there tasting room was little more than a porch and a couple of wines and now there vineyard is more mature and they have upgraded the tasting room to four walls and a couple of windows.

Don't think me unkind, the charm of the place is the un-slick, makeshift quality of the operation. The vineyard sits on the family property and there is a definite non-commercial, rustic feel to the thing. The wines have matured and the selection is more sophisticated than a few years back. Indeed, the "Rooster Tail" offering is one of the best wine values in the increasingly expensive world of Long Island North Fork Wines.

The Old Field Vineyards
59600 Main Road
PO Box 726
Southold, NY 11971

Phone(631) 765-0004

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shinn Vineyards-The wine is good, but how about a hello...

Shinn Vineyards, located in Mattituck should be one of the finest vineyards on Long Island. The location is pleasently rustic. The wines are an interesting bunch with nice selections such as the 2004 Nine Barrel Reserve Merlot (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and the truly excellent 2004 Cabarnet Franc.

Creative, thoughtful winemaking does not make for a great vineyard experience, however. We went there on a recent Saturday and were surprised at how depressing (no other word will do) the place was. We walked in the tasting room and even though it was more than half full (about 15 customers), there was a palpable unease in the air.
The owners David Paige and Barbara Shinn were there, and though they are nice enough they both had an obvious standoffish quality which made it hard to feel comfortable. There was a European gentlemen there who was very outgoing, but even this was disconcerting and seemed more like nervous energy than real warmth since it made for such a contrast with the owners somewhat dour demeanor. Lynn and I had visited the place about a year earlier and had found this to be the case then as well. We had hoped that it was a fluke, but after this second visit it seems to be the personality of the place.

Now, for the wines, they are pretty good. As with most Long Island wineries there is a real hit and miss quality to most of the vineyards. A couple of the wines here tasted too fussy. There was a really nice Sparkling Wine that we bought and look forward to drinking. Even then, we still had to pay for tasting this selection despite having bought a bottle for 35.00!

The vineyard has a nice walking tour, but even that costs 8.50. Strangely enough, the Vineyard is connected to an Inn run by the couple. Hopefully, the hospitality is a little better there. Hard to believe it would be at this point. Check the place out, but only if you aren't "into" social niceties.


Shinn Estate Vineyards
2000 Oregon Road
Mattituck, NY 11952

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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