Long Island Wine Country: Osprey’s Dominion

This past Tuesday morning I took a trip out to Peconic, New York on Long Island with a group of my friends due to a spontaneous late night decision to go wine tasting. This was the first wine tasting I’ve ever been to and beforehand, I expected to be fairly in over my head in regards to the different varieties of wine offered as I am certainly not a wine expert. In fact, I’m so uncultured on wine that I do not understand why white wine is supposed to be refrigerated while red isn’t. Regardless, we woke up early Tuesday morning and took the hour-long car ride out to a Long Island winery known as Osprey’s Dominion.

Traveling out east on Long Island is always a beautiful trip through local produce stands, bakeries, and lush farmland. On the particular day of our trip, we somehow managed to avoid the predicted cloudy weather and arrived in full daylight at a small parking lot adjacent to a one-story building with a backdrop of vines as far as the eye could see.  As we approached the entrance the manager opened the door and greeted us as we walked into the air-conditioned tasting room. At the tasting bar located in the center of the building were two bartenders and a couple that was on their way out. My friends and I approached the tasting bar with no clue as to what wine we wanted to try or even what our specific wine preferences were. Thankfully the helpful bartenders picked up on our amateur at best experience with wine and guided us toward what they thought we would enjoy the most individually. The amount of wine served per tasting glass is about one-third of a regular glass of wine, with the price ranging from $8 for 3 tastings and $12 for 5 but I was lucky enough to get a sixth tasting for free due to shear employee kindness.

I mentioned earlier that I am by no means an expert when it comes to wine, I don’t even drink that much wine. My go to type of alcohol is beer followed by liquor. So my opinion on the wines I tasted should be taken with a grain of salt and may only be particularly helpful to others with very little experience in wine tasting. That being said, I am going to try to offer my feelings on the different wines that I was served.

Following the sage advice of the bartenders, I started my wine tasting with a selection from the White Wine Menu and chose to begin with Osprey’s Dominion’s 2014 Chardonnay. I thought this one was a little tasteless and the real issue with it for me was that it was too dry for my liking. The next wine I had to try was actually already my off the books wine which the bartender insisted I try to get a better feel for my taste preferences. It was only about half the volume of the other serving sizes but I just genuinely appreciate the gesture and wanted to make sure I mentioned it. This wine was their Regina Maris Chardonnay, which was definitely sweeter than the 2014 Chardonnay and more to my taste. So much so that I actually ended up purchasing a bottle of it for $13. The last wine I tried off the White Menu was their 2016 Dry Rose. I thought I’d enjoy this more than I did, while it did have some sweetness to it, that sweetness was counterbalanced by its dryness making it rank somewhere between the 2014 Chardonnay and the Regina Maris for me.

Next up: The Red Wine Menu! Here is where I thought I’d be most comfortable, having far more experience with red wine than white. First I thought I’d start off with something familiar, I selected the 2010 Reserve Merlot which turned out to be the Gold Medal winner of the 2014 NY State Fair. However, familiarity went right out the window with the first sip. It tasted nothing like the Merlot I may or may not be sipping on as I write this. This Merlot tasted dry without being too dry and while it was not sweet it did contain a certain smoky flavor that made me eager to keep coming back to try it again. The second and last wine I tried off of the Red menu was one of the most expensive wines at Osprey’s Dominion, the 2014 Pinot Noir which was voted “Best Pinot Noir” by the NY Food and Wine Classic in 2016. I found this glass to be not too dry or sweet. I felt that the aftertaste had more of a flavor than the wine itself, however, that aftertaste was a sort of tang in the back of my throat that I didn’t care for. Overall, I think the Pinot Noir tasted fine but is not worthy of its high price.

This brings me to the Desert Menu and my final glass, filled with Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest. This is a desert wine that is insanely sweet with 14.8 residual sugar and 20% alcohol, which turned out to be right up my alley. I absolutely loved this wine, it was as sweet as any fruit juice and would make a perfect complement to any dessert. I completely understand how it won the Gold Medal at the 2016 NYS Wine and Food Classic. Although I loved it for its sweetness, I could not picture myself drinking more than a glass at a time due to just how sweet it was.

So my first wine tasting concluded but my friends and I remained for the better part of the afternoon at one of the many picnic table’s located between the building and the vineyard. We set up our lunches and casually drank some Regina Maris in the shade with the grape vines in the background. Afterward, we explored the beautiful vineyard for a while until it was time to call it a day. An employee even came out and asked to take our picture for the Osprey’s Dominion Instagram page which is the image featured at the top.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Osprey’s Dominion and recommend that anyone who can take a trip out there does so. Even if you’re not a wine enthusiast I believe that you will still have a good time thanks to the relatively low prices, the help of their excellent staff, and the beautiful scenery. Now I have this glass of Merlot to finish, thank you for reading this and have a nice day.

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