One of the fun things about judging a wine competition year after
year is the opportunity to find wineries that perform consistently well.
For the past four years, I have judged the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, sponsored by the Vinifera Wine Growers Association. The contest is meant to highlight advances in winemaking along the East Coast.
Two years ago, the Best in Show award went to Osprey’s Dominion
winery of Long Island for its Merlot. So I should not have been
surprised to look over my score sheets from this year’s judging, held
July 19-20, to find that I raved about the Osprey’s Dominion Reserve
Merlot 2005. My hastily scribbled notes read, “Nice bright cherry and
cocoa, … depth, sophistication, a world-class wine.” The wine won Best
in Class for Merlot and was also in my favorites in the Best of Show
round (which was won this year by Newport Vineyards 2007 Riesling from Rhode Island).
I also flipped for Osprey’s Dominion’s 2005 Cabernet Franc, which
showed similar depth and excellent ripeness. (My fellow judges were less
enamored of this one – it took a Silver medal.) And these were from a
vintage that went from great to horrific on Long Island, when more than
15 inches of rain fell in the second week of October, just as the red
grapes were ready for harvest. Somehow, Osprey’s Dominion managed to
produce these two gems. Bravo!