The Old Field: Pleasant Day in the Country June 18, 2016

http://www.theoldfield.com/

The pretty porch at Old Field.

The pretty porch at Old Field.

“I don’t want to leave,” I complained, but our friends had somewhere to go and we had errands to run before our dinner reservation, so reluctantly I left our comfy seats on the prettily rustic porch of the Old Field Vineyards.  Old Field is a great place if you want a quiet country setting where you can see ducks and chickens and the occasional goose wander by.  You can stand at the bar covered by mismatched tablecloths or go for a picnic table under the trees.  We had opted for a nice round table at the shady end of the porch, where our friends set out the snacks they had brought so we munched as we tasted.

Our table in the shade

Our table in the shade

The tasting menu offers four options:  four whites for $9, four reds for $10, four mixed for $8, or four “Weekend Gold” selections for $10.  Both couples opted to share a white and then a red, so we could discuss our opinions as we sipped.  One improvement over the last time we were here:  tastes are now served in proper wine glasses, instead of the little plastic cups they used to use.

  1. 2014 Blush de Noir         $16

“We had an event last week,” our friends said, “and served this out on the deck.  It was great.”  I can see that, as this is a very light, crisp almost white rosé with a “slatey strawberry” smell and a touch of citrus.

  1. 2013 Mostly Steel Chardonnay $20

Although our friend thought it seemed “tame” after the Blush de Noir, I quite liked this very slightly oaked chard, with just a touch of vanilla and lots of lemon flavor.  It has just enough oak to take the edge off the sometimes too acid lemon flavor a steel chard can have.

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  1. 2013 Barrel Chardonnay $28

The menu informs us that this is a new release, and spends seven months in French oak.  You can definitely smell that vanilla aroma of an oaked chard, but this again is not overly oaked.  No one, we decided, would complain if you served this.  “It’s a people’s wine,” asserts our friend, who I begin to suspect is angling to be quoted in this review.  Though I like it, I have to agree that it has no finish, and the taste does not linger.

  1. Charging Goose Sauvignon Blanc $25

The menu had listed Cacklin’ Rosé as the last of the whites, but instead they’ve changed their selections to this new release.  That’s fine with me, since I wanted to try this one anyway, and I never think anyone’s rosés measure up to Croteaux.  We get into a rather involved discussion of the smell, which we like, and compare to hay, Meyer lemon, berries, and butter.  We also like the taste, which combines berries and a mellow citrus.  When I suggest it would go well with oysters, we start to plan for our next outing to include oysters, perhaps at Old Mill during Happy Hour or at Jamesport.

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  1. Rooster Tail $18

This is their un-dated merlot all-purpose pizza and pasta red, which we have bought by the case in the past.  It is still good, especially for the price, with plenty of cherry tastes and an aroma of blackberries.  Dry.  New glasses for the reds, by the way.

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  1. 2012 Cabernet Franc $36

We decide we like the smell of this one better than the taste.  Not that it is bad, just that it lacks the depth the delicious aroma would seem to promise.  It has lots of dark fruit taste, and we agree that if it were less expensive we would happily buy it.

Did you ever notice how many sheds and barns farms have?

Did you ever notice how many sheds and barns farms have?

  1. 2010 Merlot $26

“It blankets you with flavor and then gets out of town,” opines our friend, happy to see me writing down his words.  Well, he’s right.  After a slightly funky forest floor, peat mossy aroma, the taste is pleasantly cherry and other fruit, but has no staying power.  Again, like the other wines, this is a drinkable but not distinguished wine.

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  1. 2010 Commodore Perry                 $38

This one is more distinguished.  Named for the illustrious ancestor of the owners, they only make this wine in good years, and 2010 was pretty universally considered to have been a very good year for Long Island wines, especially the reds, as we had a nice long warm growing season.   We had bought and cellared the 2007 the last time we were here.  The smell is delicious, like “a leather tobacco pouch dipped in red wine,” says our eloquent friend.  Though it is a merlot, like the Rooster Tail, it has much more depth and interest.  You could have it with steak or lamb chops and it would stand up to those strong meat tastes.  It’s my favorite of the day.

One of the houses on the property

One of the houses on the property

Reasons to visit:  calm rustically bucolic setting with lots of trees and lawn space; the Blush de Noir and the Commodore Perry; a vineyard with a history worth learning about (check their web site) and admirable bio-dynamic methods.

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Osprey’s Dominion: Attention Was Paid June 10, 2016

https://ospreysdominion.com/

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One of the three servers who were quick to wait on us.

One of the three servers who were quick to wait on us.

“Have you decided which wine you want to start your tasting with?” we were asked by the third server in about 10 minutes as we studied the lengthy menu.  We had not, though we welcomed the attention because on our last two visits we had felt rather neglected.   This time the tasting room was practically empty, most likely because we had decided to come on a Friday rather than a weekend day.  The last time we tried to come to Osprey’s we couldn’t even find a place to park.

The large airy tasting room

The large airy tasting room

It’s not hard to see why Osprey’s is popular.  The tasting room is large and airy, with ample outdoor seating where you can bring a picnic or buy a snack from their limited menu. Mellow music of the Frank Sinatra type was on the sound system, but they often have live music.  In fact, for the summer they have live music on Friday nights from 5-8, and they suggest you “pack your dinner or snack.”  In addition, they offer many different wines at reasonable prices with varying taste profiles.  The tasting menu lists ten whites, nine reds, and five “reserve” wines.  A flight consists of three tastes for $8 or five for $12.  We decided to do two consecutive tastings, one of whites and then one of reds, of five tastes each.

Line up of bottles on the bar

Line up of bottles on the bar

Though the servers were pleasant and attentive, they offered only minimal comments on the wines, even when we engaged them in conversation, though one of them had more extensive discussions with us about wine preferences.  We did get some help on where to start our tasting, since we wanted to try the Pinot Gris from the Reserve menu.  She advised we start there, so we did, and she was correct.

  1. 2014 Pinot Gris Reserve               $20

The aroma is lovely and flowery, like honeysuckle and orange blossom.  We taste crisp pineapple and tangerine.  The menu informs us that the wine is aged six months “sur lies,” so we expect a bit more depth, but this is a light wine and an easy summer sipper.  (Sur lies—or lees—means the wine sits on the sediment that falls out of the juice, I’ve been told, and should lead to a more complex taste.)  It was a good place to start our tasting.

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  1. 2014 Fumé Blanc $15

This is actually 100% sauvignon blanc, fermented in oak, so you get that vanilla aroma from the wood.  I also taste a bit of vanilla.  Again, this is a light white, with less of the citrus you get from a steel-fermented sauvignon blanc.

  1. 2014 “White Flight” Edelzwicker    $15

I’m not sure why the menu calls this White Flight, but I bet it’s so that people don’t have to try to pronounce Edelzwicker!  In any event, people should try this blend of 87% pinot gris, 8% gewürztraminer, and 5% riesling.  The menu describes it as an Alsatian blend; I describe it as delicious.  The aroma includes bread dough or yeast and spice—perhaps nutmeg.  The wine has all sorts of interesting flavors, with nice fruit and just a slight touch of sweetness.  In need of whites for summer meals, we buy two bottles.

  1. 2012 Gewürztraminer    $17

Although our server describes this wine as dry, I find it a bit sweet for me, though that sweetness would make it a good match for spicy food.  The aroma is intriguing, and after saying apple, ginger, and “heavy,” we settle on apple cider doughnut.  The taste is quite fruity, and not exactly what we expected in a gewürztraminer.

  1. Cuvée Osprey Sparkling    $25

For our last white we decide to try their sparkling wine, made from 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir, using the “Méthode Champenoise,” and served in a proper champagne flute.  “Candy wine,” says my husband.  I agree.  Dump.

They were excited about their new sparkler. We were not.

They were excited about their new sparkler. We were not.

 

  1. Richmond Creek Red Blend     $12

We get a clean glass for the reds, and I clear my palate with some crackers sitting in a basket on the bar.  42% cabernet sauvignon, 11% pinot noir, 26% cabernet franc, and 23% merlot:  in other words, a Left Bank Bordeaux blend.  We’re always on the lookout for inexpensive reds for our frequent pasta dinners, so we decide to begin our red tasting by trying one of their line of less-expensive wines.   It smells good, of dark fruits and plums, and tastes quite nice, too.  I would buy this one, though I have to say it has no depth or tannins.  Still, it is a pleasant sipper and would go with a simple pasta dinner, and is quite a bargain for Long Island reds–and I do like to support the local wineries!

It's a measured pour.

It’s a measured pour.

  1. 2010 Cabernet Franc    $20

Like many Long Island wines, this one blends merlot with the dominant grape, in this case 88% cabernet franc plus 12% merlot.  The aroma combines spice, pepper, and a mellow tobacco, and the taste has lots of dark fruits plus a touch of black olive.  It would go well with, for example, lamb chops with fresh herbs.

  1. 2012 Carménère  $24

We get another clean glass to try this wine, the only Carménère on the North Fork.  I’m always interested to try new tastes.  2012 was a pretty good year, and this is a pretty good wine.  The menu describes it as “jammy”;  though I’m not sure I agree, it is a rich red with some nice tannins that could stand up to steak.

  1. 2012 Malbec    $24

So here is a perfect illustration of the necessity of trying different vintages.  The last time we were at Osprey’s in February of 2015 we bought two bottles of the 2010 Malbec, which we quite enjoyed.  This time, though the wine is not bad, we are not moved to buy it.  It has nice blueberry and pepper aromas and is a pleasantly dry red, but lacks the depth of the 2010.

  1. 2012 Petite Verdot    $35

Even though Petite (or often petit) Verdot is most often used as a part of a blend, I find I tend to like it by itself.  It has a beautiful dark color and tends to be fruity and jammy and big.  This one does not disappoint, though I think it might get better with age, as it is mouth-puckering dry.  (I know, I don’t like sweet wines; now I’m complaining about dry.  As the Greeks say, moderation in all things.)

Nice day for sitting outside.

Nice day for sitting outside.

Reasons to visit:  wide variety of wines at reasonable prices; large pleasant tasting room and outdoor area; the Edelzwicker, the Gewürztraminer, the Cabernet Franc, the Carménère, the Petite Verdot; small selection of wine-related gifts; Friday night live music and BYO food.  However, be aware that in season on the weekends it can get very crowded.

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Roses are in bloom all around the grounds.

Roses are in bloom all around the grounds.