Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards is a North Fork producer that just doesn’t get enough credit… and I’m not sure why.

Actually, that’s not true. I know exactly why, I just don’t necessarily agree with the reasons.

Winemaker Adam Suprenant makes a great value sauvignon blanc, one of my favorite Long Island pinots in recent memory, and consistently good (and often better than that) Bordeaux variety reds. Those are the wines that I think of when someone asks me about the winery. They deserve the attention and the focus.

But to many, wines like ODW’s Strawberry Wine, Spice Wine, Peach Wine and Richmond Creek line are what come to mind. Pity.

I’m not really interested in those wines either, but people shouldn’t let those lesser wines distract them from the good things happening at Osprey’s Dominion. In doing so, they are missing out on some real gems… like this Osprey’s Dominion Vineayrds 2005 Reserve Merlot ($35).

Most wineries say that they only make "reserve" wines in the best of growing seasons, but Osprey’s Dominion, at least when it comes to merlot, actually follows through on that statement. This is only the second time Suprenant has made a reserve merlot, the other being from 2002.

The nose on this still-young red is a little taut at first, but just a little swirling helps release beautiful ripe cherry, plum and blackberry aromas that mingle with vanilla and mint notes. From the first sip, I was impressed by this wines mouthfeel… silky with dusty, ripe tannins that bring great structure without being astringent.

The fruit is ripe and forward here, but this isn’t a fruit bomb. That minty character from the nose shows up on the mid-palate and carries through a medium-long finish. This is a wine with many great years ahead. For now, decant it for at least an hour, probably longer.

Grape(s): 100% merlot
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $35
Rating: 40
(4 out of 5 | Delicious, Distinctive)

(About LENNDEVOURS’ Ratings)