We decided it would be fun to go to Osprey’s Dominion this week, having gone to Coffee Pot Cellars last week. Why? Because Adam Suprenant is the winemaker for both wineries, with Coffee Pot his own label. Would there be differences between his personal wines and those he made for a larger entity? We did find some differences, but both places have some really good wines.
In contrast to the cozy quarters of Coffee Pot, Osprey’s tasting room is quite large, and was fairly crowded for November, with a serpentine bar along one side and plenty of tables both inside and outside. Despite the chilly weather, there were quite a few people sitting on the sunny terrace, enjoying some live music, a food truck, and a fire pit. (They ask that you not bring food into the tasting room, and sell wine cupcakes, among other snacks.)
The tasting menu is quite extensive, reflecting their 90 acres of grapes. A tasting is either three choices for $8 or five choices for $12, and you have the freedom to pick any you like from their menu. With eight whites (including one sparkling wine), one rosé, nine reds, plus five reserve wines and four dessert options, we actually needed some guidance! Our server kept good track of where we were in our tasting, providing a clean glass for each taste, and helped us choose when we asked. We decided to share two tastings of five, starting with the whites. Glasses of wine range in price from $6-$10, and if you’re heading outside with a glass, they give it to you in a plastic cup.
- 2016 Sauvignon Blanc $17
We started at the top of the whites menu with the steel-fermented sauvignon blanc, a dry wine with more acid than fruit. My husband said it was “strong.” Although the menu opined that it tasted of melon, I tasted more grapefruit than melon, or maybe even sour apple candy. That said, though it is not a sipper, it would probably pair well with chicken or fish in a creamy sauce, or with New England clam chowder. We liked Coffee Pot’s sauvignon blanc better, but then, it is from a different year.
- 2014 Fumé Blanc $17
Fumé blanc is basically sauvignon blanc that has been fermented in oak. I described this one as mouth-watering, with the acid balanced by some sweetness. It didn’t have much aroma, though we detected a trace of vanilla from the oak. I think it would pair well with escargots in garlic sauce, the thought possibly inspired by the French name of the wine.
- Regina Maris Chardonnay $13
Why the name, and why the ship under sail on the label? Our server wasn’t sure, but did opine that the name had belonged to a ship that sailed out of Greenport. In any event, this is a chardonnay that combines steel and oak fermented juice half and half. The aroma is grassy, with a hint of wood. Though it is not overly oaky we did find it too sweet for our tastes, comparing the tastes to apple sauce and honeydew melon. My tasting buddy found it “cloyingly sweet.” As a result, we asked for some guidance as to where to go next on the menu, and she suggested we look at the reserve menu.
- 2016 Reserve Pinot Gris $24
Good choice! Though it was served a tad too cold, as we warmed it in our hands we smelled a faint aroma of orange peel plus a touch of funk. It is aged “sur lies” for six months, which may account for the layers of flavor we noted. It has a nice balance of tart and fruit, with some tastes of tangerine. It would be good with charcuterie. I used to think you needed red wine with cured meats, but now I think certain whites work better.
- Richmond Creek Red Blend $12
Rather than continue with the whites, which we were concerned might be too sweet for us, we decided to flip to the red side of the menu for the rest of our tastes. We were particularly eager to try this one, since it was on special at $75 for a case, and we’re always looking for inexpensive reds for daily consumption. This is a Bordeaux-style blend of 42% cabernet sauvignon, 11% pinot noir, 26% cabernet franc, and 23% merlot. We could definitely smell the cherry from the merlot, plus a touch of something chemical—they suggest eucalyptus. The taste is quite nice, combining cherry and other dark fruit with some spice, perhaps nutmeg, and maybe a bit of chocolate. Good pasta/pizza wine, like with the pizza my husband made the other day, topped with eggplant and black olives. Yum. Definitely buyable.
- 2013 Petite Verdot $28
We went back to the reserve menu for our next taste, guided as to its position in our tasting by our server. Another good choice. The aroma is of wood and dried fruit. The wine is very dry, with lots of tannins, which made me think it could age well. Though it does not have much fruit, it is very tasty, with enough acidity to cut through the fat of a steak or lamb chops.
- 2012 Meritage “Flight” $28
Another Bordeaux-style blend, of 39% merlot, 36% cabernet franc, 17% carménère, 4% cabernet sauvignon, and 4% petit verdot, this is also a really good red. Apparently, Wine Enthusiast agrees, giving it a grade of 90, we were told. I never actually know what to make of those grades. My husband felt the tannins “stick out,” so maybe it needs more aging. It tastes of cherry and purple plum and spice. We liked both this one and the Coffee Pot Meritage, which has a different composition and which we liked a little more.
- 2014 Carménère $28
I was eager to taste this one, since Osprey is the only vineyard on Long Island that grows this grape, and it is more usually used in blends. The aroma is funky—basement, I say. Fortunately, it doesn’t taste like a basement! It is good—interesting, say my notes—very tannic, with spicy tastes of blackberry and pepper. Not a big fruity wine, but with a nice amount of fruit.
- 2013 Malbec $28
The menu says this is a “tribute to the great wines of Cahors.” To me it seems more like a Long Island merlot—which is not a bad thing. Another good, tannic, dry red with some cherry flavors.
- 2014 Pinot Noir $40
Since this is the most expensive wine on the menu, we expected it to be something special, especially since we were informed that it won “Best Pinot Noir in New York State in 2016.” To me, it seems comparable to a Beaujolais, a light, pleasant red. Easy to drink, it would be okay with roast chicken, but I doubt I’d give it a medal (though I’d have to see how it compared with the competition).
Reasons to visit: big, social winery with entertainment and good wines; the Fumé Blanc, the Reserve Pinot Gris, the Richmond Creek Red Blend, the Meritage Flight, the Carménère; very reasonable prices, especially for Long Island reds, especially when they’re on sale. We bought a case of the Richmond Creek Red Blend.