I grew up in New York, just about forty miles North of NYC, and I never once went out to Long Island wine country. But those were the 1980’s, and Long Island wine country has been growing in the last decade or so, during which time I’ve been living in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to have an inside scoop at Osprey’s Dominion.
My Dad has known one of it’s owners, Bill Tyree, for many years, yet he, (nor I), had never ventured out to the North Fork of Long Island to visit the winery. It was high time for me to check out what was doing on “Strong” Island . On that day me, my Dad, Mom, Sister, and her boyfriend Derek, piled in the car, turned on the GPS, and headed for Long island.
As soon as we pulled up to the facility at Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards we could see it was a serious joint. The sprawling grounds, large tasting room, patio, and big picnic area rivaled anything in Napa/Sonoma (see photos). I knew from the website that Osprey’s Dominion regularly hosts live music on the weekends and other wine events on the lawn in the summer. I could see how this could the perfect picnic spot, particularly for larger groups.
In this photo on the left you can see the large open picnic area on the lawn near the vineyards, and on the right, the patio just outside the tasting room.
This was our very first stop of the day, (which also meant our first taste of Long Island wines), and it was around 11am. We weren’t sure if the joint was open … but I tried the door to the big, bright tasting room and found it was open. The room was truly enormous, with high ceilings and big windows all around. We were greeted by Peter who set us up and started us on the journey of a ten wine flight that we never really recovered from for the rest of the day. Peter was very knowledgeable, and the most down-to-earth guy you’ll ever meet. He made me and my family feel very comfortable.
The above photo shows the tasting room facing the back, which opens up to the picnic area (as seen in the previous photo).
I didn’t know much about Long Island wines, but I was very impressed to find that many of the whites are unoaked, or “unwooded”, like the Osprey’s Dominion 2006 Unwooded Chardonnay, which had a wonderful sour grape candy flavor.
Some other standouts were:
2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($14)
2008 Riesling ($16)
2008 Gewurztraminer ($16)
2005 Reserve Merlot ($35)
2007 Pinot Noir ($40)
The Sauvignon had a great tartness and ruby red grapefruit flavor. The Gewurztraminer smelled like roses. The Pinot Noir had great dry tannins with nice cherry flavors. I was beginning to think I was going to like Long Island wines.
This photo shows the tasting room facing the front, with my back to the windows in the previous photo. Just beyond the bar is the wine shop where all the schwag and stuff is on display for all.
When all was said and done, we had tasted some good wine, had a great time, and took home two cases of the stuff. My conclusion? Osprey’s Dominion is a down-home winery experience, with all the luxury of the big-time. Not to be missed.