July 1, 2021
We celebrated summer by heading to Osprey’s Dominion, after spotting an osprey on his or her nest and taking it as an omen. On this warm summer early afternoon, the capacious tasting room was empty, and only a couple of tables were occupied outside on the pleasant patio. They still seem to be operating on the pandemic model, with a bunch of tables in the tasting room taken up by a varied selection of gift items, many of them unrelated to wine. Not sure why.
In general, we like their wines, and during lockdown we drank many bottles of their Richmond Creek label, a very reasonably priced and quite drinkable collection. So this time we opted for other wines on their flight menu.
Two hard-working gentlemen (they were busy taking phone reservations for groups and unpacking boxes, in addition to serving flights) behind the bar handed us a menu and a paper with circles, where we were to specify which wines we wanted in our flight. I know to order tastes from lightest or driest to most flavorful, but not everyone does, so it’s too bad no guidance was offered. The problem is, if you taste, for example, a wine like an oaked chardonnay before a light wine like their sauvignon blanc, the sauv will seem to have no taste. The tastings are $15 for five or $10 for three, your choice from a menu of 23 wines. They also offer wines by the glass, and a small menu of snack items. One of those was a Boar’s Head platter, of sliced meats and chips, which we know was fresh because the truck had just pulled up outside. However, we asked about chips, which they did not have, and instead offered us bags of Wheat Thins, which we took, and for which they did not charge us. They do still allow you to bring your own picnic, and, apparently, dog, since we saw one on the patio.
Ten wines seemed like more than we wanted to drink, so we opted for two tastings, one of five and one of three. As it happened, the tastes were so small that I think we could have handled five and five. We carried our trays outside, where a slight breeze made it pleasant, as we listened to soft rock of the James Taylor variety on the loudspeakers. They have a gazebo out in the garden, labeled cutely “Grand Ole Osprey,” where they have live music on the weekends and Friday evenings.
- 2020 Sauvignon Blanc $19
Our first taste was a perfect summer sipper, their light pleasant steel-fermented sauvignon blanc. It has a sweet, flowery aroma and tastes of slightly sweetened lime.
- 2014 Gewurztraminer $19
You never know what you’re going to get with a gewurtz, as I’ve had both sweet and dry varieties. This one is not sweet. It has a bit of the cat pee smell one often encounters, plus some minerality. My tasting buddy summed it up by saying it “wants to be sweet but isn’t.” Interesting.
- 2019 Rosé $19
Many rosés have lovely aromas of strawberries or other fruit, but this one has almost no smell. However, it is a very drinkable dry rosé, with a touch of citrus, maybe Meyer lemon, and some tropical fruit, perhaps guava.
- 2012 Merlot $22
There are many, many merlots on the North Fork, and this one is similar to most, with its cherry aroma, but with another taste we couldn’t quite identify. It’s a simple, casual red, with some tannins.
- 2015 Cabernet Franc $24
I insist this smells like macerated blackberries, at which my husband shrugs. It is dry, with soft tannins, another easy-to-drink wine. My husband says “tangy,” at which I shrug.
- 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon $22
We agree we like this one better, from the aroma of berries and flowers to the flavor of mixed berries. Lots of tannins, so perhaps it could age even more.
- 2017 Malbec $30
Despite the higher price, we would choose any of the preceding reds over this one, which we decide needs more oomph. My tasting buddy observes that he wouldn’t have thought it was a malbec. On the other hand, it is another drinkable wine.
- 2014 Meritage “Flight” $30
This is a blend, probably of cabernet franc and merlot, and a banner over the bar boasts that it has won awards, so I order it, though originally I was going to end with the petit verdot. The aroma includes cherry and tobacco, and it tastes of cherries and oak, with more taste than smell. This is one more in the list of unchallenging, easy-to-drink wines.
Reasons to visit: large tasting room and outside patio areas; all the wines are drinkable, if unchallenging; they allow you to bring a picnic and your pooch (outside), which many places no longer do; music on the weekends; we liked the sauvignon blanc and the cabernet sauvignon best.