“I have to put out the wine tasting flag,” said Adam Suprenant, the owner and winemaker for Coffee Pot Cellars, “because people keep coming in wanting a cup of coffee!” He grinned affably and looked around his spare but pleasant tasting room, which just opened a week ago on Main Road in a building formerly occupied by a real estate office. Mr. Suprenant is the winemaker for Osprey’s Dominion, but he also decided to express himself with his own label, named, not for a pot of coffee, but for the lighthouse in Orient which supposedly looks like a coffee pot. He makes just four wines, so, he noted, “They’d better be good!” That they are; not a clunker in the bunch.
The tasting room features a very attractive bar made from reclaimed poplar wood, a small selection of wine-related items, and honey and beeswax products made by Blossom Meadow, a venture of his fiancée, who manages about 100 bee hives around the North Fork. Over on a shelf sits a demonstration hive, with a glass front so you can watch the busy bees at work.
We each had our own tasting, $7.00 for all four wines, or $2.00 per taste, and also enjoyed Mr. Suprenant’s comments on how he made each wine.
1. 2011 Sauvignon Blanc $17.99
Because not many vineyards grow sauvignon blanc grapes, Coffee Pot Cellars buys these grapes from Osprey’s Dominion, but Mr. S. makes the wine his own way. A slightly mineral aroma precedes tastes of citrus and honeydew, with a nicely long and interesting finish. Definitely a good raw seafood wine!
2. 2011 Chardonnay $15.99
“This is my Hurricane Irene wine,” Mr. S. notes, remembering how the intense rain and wind of the hurricane was followed two days later by heavy rain, forcing the early harvesting of the grapes. “The wine was very lean,” he adds, so he allowed some malolactic fermentation, but aged the wine in older oak barrels, avoiding the over-oakiness and butteriness of some chardonnays. We like this wine quite a bit, with its honey-vanilla aroma and just a hint of butterscotch amid the citrus flavors. Buyable!
3. 2008 Merlot $17.99
This is the wine Coffee Pot started with, and merlot is of course Long Island’s most-grown red wine grape. The fruit for this and the chardonnay all came from one vineyard in Aquebogue, from a vineyard where the grower only grows grapes for others, rather than making his own wine. That allows the wine to express its terroir, but not, we are pleased to note, with the earthy or dirt barnyard smells of some local reds. “People ask me if Long Island wines will age well,” our new friend says, “and I say depends on the wine. This one is doing quite well, and many will age for 6-8 years and just get better.” We smell a pleasantly brambly aroma and taste pleasant berry and good tannins, though not a lot of depth. Pretty color, too.
4. 2008 Meritage $21.99
After making just merlot, Mr. S. decided to try a blend, so he went to some winemakers at Premium Wine Group (at Lieb Cellars) to see if they had any wine they were not interested in using. After some mixing and tasting, he came up with this very lovely wine, mostly merlot, 19% cabernet sauvignon and 6% each petit verdot and cabernet franc. Smells like a Briermere berry pie to me! The petit verdot adds a bit of black pepper to the delicious fruit flavor, so it is sweet but not too sweet. “I’ll only make this in the best years,” he explains, and also describes how he puts the wine through an oxidative process to eliminate that earth flavor, and also filters out the yeasts so they will stay the way he wants them to be. Buyable.
We buy a bottle each of the Chardonnay and the Meritage, plus some honey and a box of cat-shaped beeswax candles.
Reasons to visit: A chance to talk to the winemaker and learn all about how he makes his wines; four quite tasty wines; honey and beeswax products; a nice quiet tasting room.