“Watch what happens when I pour some honey in here,” says Laura Klahr, leading a group of fascinated wine tasters over to the glass-fronted bee hive set into the wall of the Coffee Pot Cellars tasting room. As we watch, the bees gather around the stream of honey, licking it up with their tiny tongues. They seem to be enjoying their snack just as much as we enjoyed our tasting.
What, you may wonder, do bees have to do with wine? More than you probably think, but here the fact is that Laura is a beekeeper who happens to be married to wine maker Adam Suprenant, and Coffee Pot (named for the distinctively shaped lighthouse just off Orient Point—they don’t serve coffee) is their joint venture, where you can find his wines and her honey and beeswax products, plus one item that combines both their passions. More about that later.
As we stand at the bar in the cozy tasting room, we are treated to Laura’s stories about the wines, bees, and their adorable dog named Beasley and his opinions about wine. More about that later, too. Her lively presence makes us glad that we chose to bring our son and his fiancée with us on this tasting.
The menu offers several tasting options, but I recommend you go for all six wines for $12. You won’t be disappointed. Between tastes you may want to browse the bee or wine-related gift items.
- 2013 Sauvignon Blanc $19.99
This is a steel-fermented white with a metal/mineral aroma, and tastes of citrus and melon with a touch of white peach. There’s a bit of top of the mouth sweetness, but overall this is dry, and would go beautifully with seafood. We imagine it would complement the oysters we had earlier at the rustic oyster bar in Greenport.
- 2013 Chardonnay $19.99
“The grapes work so hard to grow,” says Laura, “that we just want to celebrate them.” In order not to interfere too much with the natural flavor of the grapes, they age these in eleven-year-old oak barrels, so if you don’t care for oaked chards you may like this one. We smell fermented pineapple, with just a touch of vanilla, and taste green apple. Lovely summer sipper. Our guests opine it would go well with shrimp, or maybe brie.
- Cyser $14.99
What, you may be wondering, is Cyser, and how did it get into the middle of this tasting? Cyser is Laura and Adam’s fusion of their interests, a bubbly hard cider made with honey, like a mead. I have tasted mead, and this reminds me of it a little, but it is much tarter than you would think from the ingredients and has only half a percent of residual sugar, says Laura. Our son wants to know if malolactic fermentation has taken place, so Laura gets Adam on the phone so they can chat about this possibility. Laura tells us that her bees helped pollinate the apple orchard where the apples were grown, and then a different type of bee contributed the honey. Fascinating. We enjoy it, and imagine its apple and honey taste would have gone well with the excellent pulled pork sandwich we had at First and Main—or maybe latkes! We buy a bottle as a gift. By the way, the Cyser was not listed on the menu as part of the tasting, but everyone in the room gets a taste.
- 2013 Gewürztraminer $21.99
So I’ve been saying for a while now that this or that wine tastes like gooseberries, and my husband kept saying, “I don’t know what gooseberries taste like.” Saturday I found gooseberries at Briermere (just before I bought the obligatory pie) and brought them home so we could all taste them. Fruit that tastes a bit like a vegetable, we decided, tart and green, but with a touch of sweetness. And…that describes this steel-fermented Gewürztraminer.
- Beasley’s Blend $15.99
According to Laura, the name for this wine arose from a discussion about what kind of wine Beasley, their cute friendly dog, would go for. The label features Beasley standing guard on the Coffee Pot lighthouse balcony, and the wine inside is a good pre-dinner sipper, easy to drink with pasta dishes, for example. We smell black cherry, plum, licorice, and taste a good balance of fruit with a touch of earthiness. Good work, Beasley! Nice touch—she rinsed our glasses with a bit of red wine before moving from the whites to the reds.
- 2011 Merlot $19.99
These merlot grapes, we are informed, come from McCullough’s vineyard. Our son detects an aroma of blueberry, and his fiancée adds pomegranate. The taste is typically cherry, nicely dry. Perhaps if we get some pork belly from Eight Hands Farm this would go well with it.
- 2010 Meritage $25.99
59% merlot, 23% petit verdot, 14% cabernet franc, and 4% cabernet sauvignon; 90 points from Wine Spectator: but statistics only tell you so much. 2010 was a good year on Long Island, and this is a lovely example of a wine from that year. Delicious, we all agree, with lots of dark fruit, nice tannins, and a bit of a coffee aroma to add to the usual Bordeaux blend smells. It is getting close to time to go home and cook dinner, and we must be hungry as we start to speculate about what this wine would go well with. Lamb shish-ka-bob? Steak? Oh yes. And we buy a bottle for the cellar.
Reasons to visit: where else can you taste wine and learn everything you ever wanted to know about bees?; Laura and Adam, still wine country’s cutest couple; all the wines but especially the chardonnay, the Cyser, and the Meritage; lots of bee-related gifts (I’ve had the honey and it is excellent.).