February 19, 2022
It was the type of day when, as they say, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. In the morning, with some guests, we explored the Southold Winter Festival, and it was sunny though cold and windy. We admired the ice sculptures being chiseled out of blocks of ice, stopped in to a couple of our favorite shops, and headed home to warm up and have a snack. Then we ventured out again in the afternoon, as the sunny day turned cloudy, and snowflakes flew past us, to have a tasting at Suhru in Cutchogue. By the time we emerged, the storm was over and it was sunny again. (And then later another snow squall moved through!)
We were all glad we had ventured out, because we thoroughly enjoyed our tasting experience at Suhru’s small but well laid out tasting room, which we had to ourselves most of the afternoon. The young man in charge of the room was attentive, engaging, and well-informed about the wines, bringing us water and making sure we had all that we needed.
Suhru is a winery without a vineyard, as the winemaker, Russell Hearn (who is also the winemaker for Leib and Bridge Lane), buys his grapes each year based on whose crop he favors. For example, he makes wine from teroldego grapes, which were planted by Southold Farm + Cellar, who sadly had to move to Texas. At the moment, Russell offers ten wines for tasting, with four different flight options: February Favorites, four wines for $17; Whites and Rosé, four for $14; Red Wines, four for $21, and Choose Your Own, any four for $19. You can also ask for individual tastes, glasses, or a bottle. Our friends went with the red flight, while my husband and I decided to choose our own adventure.
I hadn’t been here since 2018, so I didn’t know they now have a nice lttle menu of snacks, mostly cheese and charcuterie, but also a few other items. Our friends decided to have the Marcona almonds, which turned out to be a miniscule serving for $2, so we added a bag of North Fork potato chips.
Our selections arrived in a cute round tray, with each wine resting on its labeled spot, and we proceeded to taste clockwise. I’ll detail my tasting first, then the two wines they had that differed from mine.
- NV Brut $29
I’ve decided to try sparkling wines everywhere they are offered—last week I tasted two at Pindar—and so far, so good. In fact, very good. We like this dry, tasty sparkler, made in the méthode champenoise, so much that our friends add a taste to their flight after we all finish. It has that lovely yeasty aroma of good bubbly, with tiny bubbles, and tastes of pear and maybe a touch of citrus. Mouth-watering. It’s a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, according to our helpful server.
- 2020 Pinot Grigio $19
Although we are told that this is their “signature wine,” I am not enamored of it. On the other hand, my tasting buddy really likes it. As they say, there are no wrong answers in wine (well, there are, but, as they say in French, “Chacun à son gout.”) I get lemon and green apple tastes, but also something like cardboard. It is light and dry.
- 2020 Teroldego $30
Teroldego is a Northern Italian grape, not often grown on Long Island, so I ask our server where the grapes came from, which is how I learn the vines were planted by the owners of Southold Farm + Cellar. I was sorry to see that winery close, because they made some lovely wines, were very nice people, and had the most creative wine names I ever saw, but they had some sort of difficulties with local regulations and eventually closed up shop and moved to Texas, where they now have a winery. In any event, I’m glad the grapes are being used, because this is a delicious wine. It has a beautiful aroma of roses, and tastes of red raspberry and other berries. It is a somewhat light red which would go well with charcuterie, and could even be slightly chilled to accompany seared tuna. Last week I bought some fresh tuna steaks at Braun’s and my friend and I seared them with a pan sauce of capers, lemon, and garlic, and this would have gone well with that.
- 2019 Shiraz $25
When our daughter got married, we had a little wine tasting to decide which wines to serve. We already had the white picked out—Channing Daughter’s Scuttlehole Chardonnay—but we needed a red to go with lamb. This shiraz would definitely have been a contender. It is a bit peppery—apparently some people compare the taste to Dr. Pepper! –which would cut the fat of the lamb nicely. Good red fruit tastes plus something deeper.
- 2019 Cabernet Franc $30
“This tastes lighter than I expected,” opines our friend, who nonetheless finds the wine, which is in her tasting, not mine, quite pleasant. It has some teroldego mixed in, we are told. Good berry tastes. Our friends got up to peruse the display of bottles, and were charmed to realize that they have actually tasted wine from this winery, as one with the T’Jara label is carried in their local wine shop in Queens. In fact, according to a map on the wall, Suhru ships to many of the states.
- 2019 Ember $25
Our friends like this so much, that I add a taste of it after I finish my flight. This is Suhru’s Bordeaux blend, a merlot-heavy mixture including cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, and malbec. It is so drinkable that I resent sharing it with my tasting buddy. Kidding. Or maybe not. It is complex and balanced, with aromas of fruits, including cherry, and lots of interesting fruit tastes. The name? They had a little competition in the family, and apparently one cousin felt ember was a good name, as it evoked the long-lasting warmth of a fire. I can see that. I buy two bottles to take home.
Reasons to visit: intimate tasting room where you can sometimes interact with the owners; all the wines are good, but especially the Brut, the Teroldego, the Shiraz, and the Ember; they have a nice little menu of snacks, but don’t bother with the Marcona almonds, unless you think $2 for about ten nuts is a good price; there is a backyard patio seating area for warm weather; if you’re planning a picnic, note that they offer several of their wines in cans.