“So, the way to grade a wine is this: you bring the bottle to a party. At the end of the night you look to see—if the bottle is empty, it was good. But if it is still half or three quarters full…” All of us gathered at the bar of the Coffee Pot Cellars tasting room chuckled at Adam Suprenant’s joke, one of a number of humorous comments with which he entertained the small group. No joke, however—if you bring one of his bottles of wine to a party, don’t expect to take home any leftover wine!
Since he first opened three years ago, Adam has expanded his list from four wines to six, all made from grapes which he sources locally (since he doesn’t have his own vineyard). The winemaker for Osprey’s Dominion, he notes that they pay him to make their wines, and then he pays them to use their facilities to make his wines. Making his own wines gives him a chance to express his own taste and creativity, and he does very well. We liked all six.
The small, cheerful yellow tasting room is in a small building on the Main Road, and consists of a bar and some stools, plus shelves featuring wine-related items but also many honey products from the bee-keeping business Blossom Meadow run by his wife, Laura Klahre, who is also a very likeable presence behind the bar. On one wall you can see a beehive behind glass, and Laura will happily explain to you what exactly is going on in it. She is also in the process of creating a “Wineosaur,” a wire sculpture on the front lawn which she is creating using corks. Some day she hopes to attach it to some skateboards and join a local parade.
Adam also points out the music series, named “The Buzz,” which they are running this year featuring local singer/songwriters performing their own music, rather than the covers they have to sing at other wineries. The series runs Saturday nights from 7-10, and you can check out their web site for details. (http://www.coffeepotcellars.com/ )
Tasting options include one for $2.50, four for $8, or all six for $10. A glass is $8. We decide we will each get our own tasting.
- 2012 Sauvignon Blanc $17.99
This is a fairly typical sauvignon blanc, steel-fermented, with lots of citrus flavor. I also feel as though I smell some honey or honeysuckle. It would go great with some Pipes Cove oysters. Apropos of grades, we are informed this scored an 89 in Wine Advocate. We like it.
- 2012 Chardonnay $15.99
This is the chardonnay he didn’t plan to make, which ended up being a prizewinner. The 2012 is almost sold out, and the 2013 will be released this week. Adam apologizes that they are not yet serving it, because he thinks it is a terrific wine. The 2012 is not so bad! Because he uses ten-year-old oak barrels, it is not heavily oaked at all, with only a slight butterscotch aroma and taste. We taste LOTS of ripe pineapple, and though there is some sweetness it is not at all cloying. Good.
- 2013 Gewürztraminer $21.99
Gewürztraminer can be too sweet or not sweet enough, but this one is just right. It is fairly refined, with aromas of honeysuckle and lychee and tangerine, reminding me of dessert in a Chinese restaurant. Yet it is also dry. Also good.
- Beasley’s Blend $14.99
Now we move to the reds, and Adam rinses our glasses with a quick swirl of the red wine. Who is Beasley? Their black pug, a photo of whom recently graced the pages of Wine Press, a local wine magazine. And why is the wine named for him? Laura and Adam joked that Beasley often joins them for dinner, and this is the type of wine he likes. The label features a drawing of him standing on a deck of the Coffee Pot Lighthouse, and Adam says that he stands watch there, so if you go by on the ferry to New London, listen for his bark. Anyway…Beasley has good taste. This blend of 63% merlot, 19% cabernet franc, 12% cabernet sauvignon, and 6 % petit verdot is better than your usual everyday red blend, especially given the price. We scent lots of berry and spice aromas, with a touch of woods. It is soft and easy to drink, with plenty of berry taste as well. A good wine to bring to that party…
- 2009 Merlot $17.99
Adam notes that he sources all the merlot grapes for this wine from McCullough’s vineyard, so that it can express the terroir. We smell smoke and cherry, and taste cherry. This is nice and dry, and would complement pasta really well.
- 2010 Meritage $25.99
A blend of 59% merlot, 23% petit verdot, 14% cabernet franc, and 4% cabernet sauvignon, this wine also got a high grade—a 90—from Wine Advocate. And, Adam adds, he feels it is yet 3-5 years from its peak, so this may be a good wine to store in the cellar for a while. We like this one, too, as it is dry with good dark fruit tastes, but my notes are a bit sketchy because at this point we were the only people left in the room and Adam revealed that he likes my blog. Outed! Nice to know I have a reader aside from my nearest and dearest.
We decide to buy a bottle of the Beasley’s Blend because we are always looking for everyday reds—we eat a lot of pasta—and a bottle of the 2013 Chardonnay so we can try it. We have it with some spicy stir-fried chicken and eggplant I make, and it is delicious. Quite different from the 2012, though it also has a slight butterscotch aroma and flavor, this is much more balanced, with less of a pineapple taste and a touch more citrus—maybe Meyer lemon? I think I’d really like it with some grilled salmon.
Reasons to visit: Adam and Laura, still wine-country’s cutest couple; all of the wines, but especially the Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Chardonnay, the Beasley’s Blend and the Meritage; honey and honey-related items, including beeswax candles in all shapes and sizes; a nice small room where you can really talk to the owner/wine-maker and learn about wine (and bees–which got me wondering, should they try their hand at making mead?).