The last time we were at Osprey’s, in April of 2013, we felt somewhat neglected, as our server abandoned us to cater to a group of women who came in midway through our tasting. This time we had the room almost to ourselves, but again we were not impressed with the service. Our server briefly outlined the menu choices, but then offered no suggestions how to choose amongst the many offerings and only minimal (unless we asked questions, no more than what was on the menu) information on each wine. That’s too bad, as the winery has some interesting wines at quite reasonable—for Long Island—prices.
Osprey’s tasting room is quite large, and is well set up to accommodate crowds, though on this cold February day we shared it with a couple unpacking a picnic lunch at one table and only a few others at the bar. The musician—an accomplished singer and guitarist, playing James Taylor and Eagles standards—felt quite lonely until, just as we were leaving, a party of about a dozen women arrived. You can also find a good selection of wine-related gifts.
In a nod to Valentine’s Day, one of the three menus offered a chocolate pairing of four wines and chocolates for $18. Another let you try four of their high-end reds for $15, while the main menu let you choose any five wines for $8. We chose the latter option, but our work was not done. The two-sided list includes 12 whites and nine reds, plus a few dessert wines and a sparkling wine. After a long discussion—which our server left us alone to have—we decided to do five whites and five reds, sharing each taste as we went. Oh, and they also have Greenport Harbor ale on tap.
- 2012 Fumé Blanc $18
Why Fumé, we ask our server about this wine made from sauvignon blanc grapes. Oh, she says, because being in oak gives it a bit of a smoky taste. We sniff, and agree on an asparagus smell. The wine itself is interesting, dry, but with fruit I categorize as gooseberry (to confirm, the next time I see gooseberries at Briermere I’ll buy them so we can discuss the taste) and some complexity. We like it, and agree that it is quite sippable.
- Regina Maris Chardonnay $13
Why Regina Maris, we ask. It’s a famous ship in Greenport, she says. The bottle calls it a “special commemorative” wine, but we don’t know why. This is a 50% oak and 50% steel-fermented chard, with a nice ripe pineapple aroma. The taste is a bit disappointing, somewhat evanescent with front of the mouth sweetness and not much else.
- 2012 Reserve Chardonnay $20
We decide to try another chard as a comparison, and choose the reserve. Too much oak for our taste, we agree, though the wine is so cold perhaps some subtlety is lost. The aroma is nice—nutmeg and bitter orange, some vanilla. I taste something pineapple at the end. Just okay.
- 2011 Gewürztraminer $15
If you’re looking for a wine to have with next Thanksgiving’s turkey, this would be a good choice. We smell ginger, sweet orange blossoms, and a not-unpleasant touch of wet fern. There’s some vegetable taste, and it is nicely dry.
- 2011 “White Flight” Edzelwicker $15
I’m intrigued by this one, a blend of 87% pinot gris, 8% gewürztraminer, and 5% riesling. Why the name? It’s from Alsace, we are told, and means noble blend. The aroma is interesting, too—bread dough, peach, hard candy. The taste is not quite as exciting, but it is good, dry, but with good fruit tastes. I think it would go really well with brie, even though I usually like red wines with cheeses.
- Richmond Creek Red Blend $12
Now we move on to the reds, and we are given a clean glass. Where is Richmond Creek? Right across the street, she says. This is a Left Bank Bordeaux blend, 47% cabernet sauvignon, 11% pinot noir, 20% cabernet franc, and 23% merlot. We’re looking for an inexpensive wine for everyday drinking, which is why we decided to taste this one. We smell plum, eucalyptus, and forest floor. The wine tastes okay, with some sweetness, though overall it is a bit flat. It wouldn’t stand up to highly seasoned food.
- 2007 Meritage “Flight” $24
Another blend, this time it’s of 67% merlot, 25% carmenere, and 8% cabernet franc. We love its dark color and fruity aroma. The taste is pleasant, mostly cherry, and less complex than one would expect, with some tannins.
- 2012 Pinot Noir $40
Cheracol cough syrup I exclaim when I sniff this wine, to which I add, also cinnamon. Swirl. Legs. Cherry flavor. Very nice, though perhaps not $40 nice. People would like it, opines my husband.
- 2011 Carmenere $35
Wow, we really like this. If we were looking for more reds for the wine cellar, we’d get this one. Aromas of spice, cedar and fennel precede tastes of ripe dark fruits—sweet purple plums, perhaps—plus some tannins. The grape has an interesting history, as it was apparently a lost and forgotten French variety that was rediscovered growing in Chile. Osprey is the only winery on Long Island to grow carmenere, another server tells us, when I tell him it’s my favorite of the day.
- 2010 Malbec $24 (two for $40, a January special)
2010 was a good year on the North Fork, so we have high expectations for this wine, and we are not disappointed. The grape is from the Cahors region of France, we are told. Argentinian wines often use malbec grapes, but this wine is softer than I remember Argentinian malbecs to be. My husband insists that it smells like Craisins. Could be. I taste dried fruit and spice and I really like it. At $20 a bottle, it’s a good buy, so we get two bottles. (Just before we tasted this one, a bowl of crackers arrived on the bar.)
Reasons to visit: reasonably good wines for reasonable prices; some interesting varietals and blends you won’t find elsewhere on the North Fork; the Fumé Blanc, the Gewürztraminer, the Edzelwicker, the Carmenere, the Malbec; you may bring a picnic (something many wineries don’t allow); good selection of gifts; a nice large room for a group.