In early August, Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards was named New York’s “Winery of the Year” by the New York Grape and Wine Foundation at its annual New York Food and Wine Classic. The winery earned the honor by winning seven medals at the event, including two double golds, one gold, two silvers and two bronzes.
Winemaker Adam Suprenant, a Bronxville, New York, native who joined Osprey’s Dominion after graduating from the world-renowned U.C. Davis oenology program, is proud of the winery’s showing.
“It’s great to be recognized after more than four years of dedicated hard work here at Osprey’s Dominion,” said Suprenant, ìbut it also reflects well on the commitment and philosophy of the owners, Bud Koehler and Bill Tyree, to produce high quality wines. Much credit is also deserved by our vineyard manager, Tom Stevenson (also a U.C. Davis graduate) for giving me great fruit to work with.”
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards’ 2001 Fume Blanc ($15) was one of the bronze medal winners. Fume Blanc is a name coined by Robert Mondavi years ago that is usually used to describe Sauvignon Blanc that is fermented and aged in oak barrels. You don’t see much Fume Blanc on the East Coast and it’s quite different from other local Sauvignon Blancs. It’s a medium gold in the glass and has a smoky nose accented by spice and fig notes. Full bodied and tongue-coating, this wine shows significant oak character, pear and melon flavors, and just a little acidity. Suprenant recommends serving it with “smoked fish and game. Maybe pork. Seafood with a rich sauce like beurre blanc.”
The Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2001 Reserve Chardonnay ($18) is rich and buttery on the nose with a tropical background of pineapple. Pineapple flavors abound in this wine, with oak barrel components like vanilla, butter and cream adding complexity. There is also some citrus in the mid-palate before a long, lingering finish. This wine probably really stood out in competition because of its intense tropical aromas. It won a silver medal.
There are quite a few excellent roses being made locally, but Osprey Dominion’s 2004 Vin Gris ($12) is a real standout. Made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this wine not only won a gold medal, but was named the best vinifera rosé in the state. It could almost be mistaken for a light Pinot Noir in the glass, and offers fresh strawberries and cherries on the nose with an almost buttery accent. Comfortingly medium-bodied, this pink wine is still refreshing. It’s reminiscent of strawberry ice cream in a homemade waffle cone. It captures summer’s essence and bounty wonderfully.
Osprey’s Dominion’s other silver medal was awarded for its 2001 Merlot ($18). Cherry flavors, firm, but smooth, tannins, and a slightly earthy nose characterize this wine. While well made, tasty and elegant, I don’t think it stands out as a top-tier Merlot.
A wine that does stand out, however, is the Osprey’s Dominion Vineyard 2001 Cabernet Franc ($20). Aged for 14 months in both French and American, this blend of 77-percent Cabernet Franc, 17-percent merlot and 6-percent Cabernet Sauvignon has a tremendously complex nose of cherries, blackberries, chocolate and both Italian and Thai basil. That complexity carries over upon tasting, without heavy tannins getting in the way. The extended finish is delicious with soft cherry and hints of spice. It’s no wonder that it won double gold (meaning it was unanimous among all judges) and was named best Cabernet Franc in the state.
Suprenant shows excellent blending abilities again with his Osprey’s Dominion Vineyard 2001 Flight ($30), a merlot-heavy blend of Bordeaux varieties. It’s full bodied and features significant tannins (from 35-percent new French Oak). The flavors run the gamut from blueberries and blackberries to garden herbs, tomato leaves and wet soil. The tannins and hints of acidity make this a wine with superior aging potential.
Osprey’s Dominion also makes Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, an un-oaked
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and affordable table wines under its
Richmond Creek label. Visit www.ospreysdominion.com or call 765-6188
(This appeared in the 9/2 issue of Dan's Papers)