Long Island Wine in Texas?

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A Wine of Exceeding Expectations. An old world style from a new world winery in North Fork of Long Island.

On a recent business trip to Dallas, TX, I discovered a culinary gem in Cafe Urbano while dining with some colleagues.  Mind you, the original idea was to hit the Capital Grille in downtown.  I gently objected the place of choice for two particular reasons. First, I wanted to visit something ‘local‘ and secondly, and potentially a more important factor  in the decision was that we didn’t have a reservation.  I avoid as much as I am able to waiting more than 20 minutes in line just to be seated at a restaurant in general.  Before I get into the specifics of this Shinn Estate NV Red Blend,  I must share how and where I obtained this particular bottle: my colleague Carlo, an avid beer fan, had this bottle stashed in his office claiming that it was a gift from Christmas 2016. He confessed that he had not tried this wine yet and probably will never find an ocassion to drink it. After a brief conversation about IT consulting and hobbies, “Wine” came up and since I am familiar with the North Fork wineries, Carlo gave me the wine.  I took it, put in my laptop bag and off we went to Capital Grill—or so we thought.  After I heard that the wait was approximately 40 minutes, I inquired among my colleagues about the BYOB scene in the area. To my surprise, the consensus was “not a clue”.  I searched for BYOB restaurant near me and Google pointed us at Cafe Urbano. The BYOB concept was an easy sell to my peers and since I already had a bottle of wine, why not?   I ordered a Short Ribs Sandwich, knowing that the bottle was a Bordeaux-esque blend composed of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec & Petit Verdot.  I have to say, I truly enjoyed my meal and the rest of the evening.  In large part, because the combination of the Short Ribs with the Shinn Estate wine was some sort of controlled serendipity, if that ever existed. You see, our group was planning to hit highly regarded–and pricey Capital Grill.  Understandably, the high price tag elevates the expectations, at least that’s what marketing folks would like us to believe it blindly.  If it is expensive it must be good! However, the unpretentious fare from the local Cafe Urbano with the Bordeaux blend from Long Island definitely exceeded all my expectations. And apparently the expectations of my colleagues as well.  The wine opened up with aromas of plum and dark cherry fruit with oaky vanilla influence.  While I might be describing an every day wine, the fact that the smooth and yet firm tannins stood up well to the fatty ribs was beyond what I expected.  The wine itself is extremely food-friendly with the right amount of fruit, acidity and tannins.  In fact, you may need a bit of protein such as short ribs to wash it down.  As the evening ended, the wine finished with emerging notes of plum, mushrooms and cocoa powder. Incredible tasty.  Upon returning to New England, I found a younger version of the Shinn Estate wine at Bin 312 on North Main St in Providence for just under $20.00.  Obviously, I tried it again and the notes are pretty consistent.  Plum, oak and earth. Perhaps, the younger version was a bit more elegant and yet, this time around, the expectations were met.  Cheers!

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