Osprey’s Dominion: Taking Flight(s) December 22, 2018
You really need to have two flights to begin to sample the breadth of Osprey’s Dominion’s list of wines, so…we did. I valiantly offered to drink more of each taste than my husband, the designated driver. A flight of five tastes is $12, so we did one with five whites and another of five reds, but we could go back and do another two tastings of all different wines, if you include the “Reserve Collection.”
On this pre-Christmas Saturday of frantic last-minute shopping (we did a few errands in Riverhead and were happy we did them early, as we saw the traffic quickly increasing), the expansive tasting room at Osprey’s was an oasis of calm. We had useful attention from our server, who quickly noted our likes and helped us tailor our tasting accordingly, avoiding their sweeter wines.
What’s nice about Osprey is it has something for everyone, from the lower priced Richmond Creek wines to the expensive Reserves, from the sweet Regina Maris Chardonnay to the minerally Sauvignon Blanc. They also carry a nice selection of wine-related gifts. The one area I would fault them on is in the snack category. After our morning of erranding I was ready for a snack, but the “cheese tray” on offer for $10 was a cellophane-wrapped very small package of a few slices of Boar’s Head salami and cheese, plus a little baggie of crackers. No thanks.
- 2016 Sauvignon Blanc $19
Both the aroma and the taste of this sauvignon blanc are complex and interesting, and somewhat different than the usual North Fork s.b. We sniff and get something funky, something vegetal—maybe cabbage? The taste has lots of minerality and salt, plus pink grapefruit. Good. The tasting menu says “refreshing acidity.” I would agree. My husband says it is “not shy.” Some day it might be fun to line up a bunch of different sauvignon blancs and see how they differ.
- 2014 Fumé Blanc $19
Well, here’s one way they can differ. This wine uses the same grape, but aged in 15% new French oak, on the lies for a while, for a somewhat smoky taste. The aroma is again a bit funky, but also smells like ripe melon. It has a richer mouth feel than the first wine and a nice long finish. Lots of good acidity. We like this one, too.
- 2017 Reserve Pinot Gris $24
Our server steers us to this one, instead of our original plan of just going in order on the list of whites, since we had said we did not care for sweet wines. The aroma of this one lets me trot out my new vocabulary word: petrichor. That’s the “scent of rain on dry ground,” which is also the smell you get when you walk past apartment buildings in New York in the summer after the doorman has been hosing down the sidewalk, or the smell of this wine. It tastes like tangerines and pineapple, plus again some minerality, and is another winner.
- 2014 Reserve Chardonnay $22
Although our server says this is the least sweet and least oaky of the oaked chardonnays, it’s not my favorite of the wines so far. 100% barrel fermented, the aroma is of something floral plus pencil shavings. My tasting buddy identifies a “theme” in the wines, which we decide is a combination of minerality and acidity. Those qualities help balance the sweetness of this chard. I could see having it with Chinese food.
- 2013 Gewürztraminer $19
As is typical of this grape, we get lots of floral smells, like honeysuckle, plus spice. “It smells like a garden,” says my husband. Though we prefer the gewürztraminer at One Woman, this is nice, with some gingery notes as well as fruit. A touch sweet.
- Richmond Creek Red Blend $14
Now we get a fresh glass for the reds. This is a left bank Bordeaux blend of 42% cabernet sauvignon, 11% pinot noir, 26% cabernet franc, and 23% merlot. As I sniff, I’m reminded of a gift I once got of a box of chocolate covered cherries. Add to that a touch of tobacco and you have the aroma of this mellow, smooth, and very drinkable red. It tastes remarkably like those chocolate covered cherries, too. Really good for the money, and we’ve often bought it at Vintage, our local liquor store.
- 2013 Meritage “Flight” $30
I love this kind of juxtaposition. Here’s another Bordeaux-style blend, this time of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. At twice the price of the Richmond Creek blend, is it worth it? Well, maybe. It is definitely better in that it is more complex, with aromas and flavors of prunes, fruit, raspberries, and tobacco, with tannins that indicate you could probably cellar it for a few years. I wouldn’t buy it for every night drinking, but maybe for a special occasion. The word “flight,” by the way, refers to the owner, who is a pilot.
- 2014 Carménère $30
According to the tasting notes, Osprey is the first winery on Long Island to plant the Carménère grape, another grape used in Bordeaux wines. We like this wine, too. We smell pencil shavings again, like the smell you get from a pencil sharpener, and taste purple plums and spice, perhaps nutmeg. It has “lots of taste,” we agree. I think this is another wine that could age.
- 2014 Malbec $30
In Cahors, we are told by the tasting notes, malbec is blended with merlot and tannat grapes, as is the case here as well. The notes also recommend serving this with a grilled steak, and I can see that. The aroma reminds me of picking blueberries and blackberries at Patty’s Berries and Bunches in August, an activity I heartily recommend for small children. I had fun doing that, too. This wine is also enjoyable, juicy and yummy.
- 2013 Reserve Petit Verdot $30
The server and I agree that we like petit verdot. This one is very good, with aromas of nutmeg and other spices, and a long finish. It tastes like blackberry jam with seeds, and is very tannic. If I were adding wine to my cellar for aging, I would get this one.
Reasons to visit: something for everyone, with a wide variety of wines at various price points and tastes; large attractive tasting room, where they often have music and other events; most of the wines, especially the Sauvignon Blanc, the Reserve Pinot Gris, the Richmond Creek Red Blend, the Meritage “Flight,” the Carménère, the Malbec, and the Reserve Petit Verdot. However, don’t rely on them for snacks.