Although Suhru wines have been around for a while (We first tasted them at The Winemaker’s Studio.), they didn’t have their own tasting room—until now. They have opened up their own place in the small building in Cutchogue which briefly housed Waters Crest’s tasting room. As soon as we walked in, we noticed that they had done a very nice job of renovating the space, expanding the room and decorating it in a breezy, beachy style. Our server informed us that they soon hope to be able to display work by local artists. They also have a small outdoor area in the back, which faces their parking lot.
We happened to enter during the Grand Opening, so a table in the rear of the room held cheese and bread and sausages from Touch of Venice, which we were urged to sample. In the future, they hope to have a menu of snacks from that restaurant, which is right across the street. Good idea!
Suhru—the name is an amalgam of Susan, Russell, and Hearn, for Susan the owner, Russell the winemaker, and Hearn, their last name—joins the club of wineries which are the personal products of winemakers who work for large wineries, like Coffee Pot Cellars and Anthony Nappa. They also have another label, T’Jara, which they own with another couple. That name is a nod to where they are from, which is Australia, and literally means “place where I’m from” in the aboriginal language. By the way, they are careful to emphasize the “h” in the winery’s name, since Suru is the name of a Japanese saki company! We were given all this information by our cheery and friendly server—who also happens to be Susan and Russell’s daughter. She was helped at the bar by her mother, so this is quite a family affair.
The menu offers several options: a tasting of three Suhru wines for $9, a tasting of two whites and a rosé from both labels for $8, or a red wine tasting of three, again combining both labels, for $11. But, we said, we want to try all eight varieties on offer (two wines are not available for tasting, only by the bottle). No problem, Ms. Hearn replied, and carefully set us up with two tastings of three each, plus one extra of each, which would cost less than buying eight individual tastes. Wines are also available by the glass. She also delineated the order in which to taste the wines and made useful comments on each.
- 2016 Pinot Grigio $24
“This is the wine which started it all,” said Ms. Hearn. I can see why. It is a light, bright, dry white with tastes of citrus and green apple and a pleasantly flowery aroma. I felt it needed food, and a bite of bread and cheese showed me that I was right. It would also be good with charcuterie.
- 2017 Sauvignon Blanc $26
Her parents met while hiking in New Zealand, so this is a nod to the New Zealand style of sauvignon blanc, noted Ms. Hearn, though it is not exactly like them. After all, the climate and terroir here are different. The aroma has a whiff of chemicals, but the wine itself is quite nice, dry, with some citrus, though my husband finds it a bit too fruity for him. Again, it benefits by being tasted along with a bite of bread and cheese.
- 2014 Dry Riesling $25
The grapes for the riesling come from the Finger Lakes region, she tells us, and we get into a discussion of the relative merits of grapes from the two areas. Susan Hearn joins in, and I tell them how last fall we were in Beacon and went to a winery which used some grapes from Long Island! This riesling also includes some gewürztraminer. It is very dry, not at all sweet, and tastes of ripe pear and minerals. Cat pee aroma, I note!
- 2017 T’Jara Rosé $25
A combination of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc, this is a very light, almost watery rosé, not fruity or at all sweet. Though it is a refreshing summer drink, it would not replace Croteaux for us. (By the way, the Croteaux tasting room is closed, due to a problem with the town, though you can still buy their wines online or at local stores.)
- 2012 T’Jara Cabernet Franc $33
Now we move on to the reds, and a new tray of nice, round-bottomed glasses. The labels for T’Jara wines, by the way, feature designs inspired by aboriginal art. The vineyard for the reds is in Mattituck, where Bordeaux grapes are grown. This is a very drinkable red, with soft tannins and dark fruit tastes, dry, with very little aroma.
- 2012 Ember $27
This is their Bordeaux blend, predominantly merlot plus cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot. I really like this, and we buy a bottle. Again, very drinkable, food friendly as Ms. Hearn says, with red current aroma and some minerality as well as dark fruits. It would be good with a beef stew.
- 2012 Shiraz $30
Again, this name is a nod to their Australian roots, since the grape is called shiraz in Australia and syrah elsewhere, so in America winemakers can choose either. She tells us this is a “cool climate inspired” wine. It’s good, but fairly light for a shiraz. I wouldn’t pair it with a steak, but maybe with veal or pasta. Again, it has soft tannins and lots of fruit.
- 2015 T’Jara Merlot $33
Unlike most North Fork merlots, this one has no cherry taste. It is more like a cabernet franc, I would say. I think it might improve with age, but right now it is quite young and not particularly distinguished.
Reasons to visit: pretty little tasting room that so far is not crowded (We had started out to go to Shinn, but couldn’t even get into the parking lot!); the pinot grigio, the Ember, the sauvignon blanc, the cabernet franc; the chance to chat with the owners and get deeply into the wines; they serve your tastes on a tray, so if you are with a group you can take it to a table and sit and sip; snacks (at some point soon) from Touch of Venice.