Winemaker Introduces Private Label Coffee Pot Cellars
Earlier this summer, Adam Suprenant, winemaker at Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards for the past decade, released the first wines under his own private label – Coffee Pot Cellars. This unique name for a winery may surprise, but it is as local as local gets.
“The inspiration for the label came one early evening on my friend Ron Apostle’s boat during a spectacular late summer sunset. We were going back home through Plum Gut by the lighthouse at Orient Point. The vision of the stark black-and-white lighthouse against the blazing crimson sky was stunning and combined with the cool saltwater spray gave me goose bumps. Since I don’t own a vineyard of my own, I thought what better symbol of the North Fork is there than that? It was only later that I discovered that Orient Point Lighthouse’s nickname is The Coffee Pot,” Suprenant said when I asked him the origins of the name.
While it’s true that Suprenant doesn’t own his own vineyard, his more than 10 years in the local wine industry means he has built relationships with several growers, most notably Sam McCullough, who also manages the vineyards at Lenz Winery. Suprenant also buys fruit from his employers and other North Fork producers.
The launch portfolio consists of two white wines – a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc – as well as two reds – a Merlot and a Meritage. The most expensive is $22, making Coffee Pot a brand that promises to over-deliver for the price, I think successfully.
The Coffee Pot Cellars 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($18), made with Osprey’s Dominion fruit, is extremely citrusy with dominant grapefruit and candied lemon peel character, and accents of melon and sweet grass. Medium-bodied and tense with fresh, citrusy acidity, it is a straightforward, appetite-whetting white that is satisfying and clearly meant for local shellfish.
Suprenant used fruit from McCullough’s vineyard to make his Coffee Pot Cellars 2010 Chardonnay ($16), which is similarly straightforward, offering yellow apple, lemon zest and faintly nutty notes. Made without any new oak or malolactic fermentation – the process that changes green apple malic acidity into rounder, lactic acid – this Chardonnay retains its freshness.
Over the years, Suprenant has shown a talent for coaxing ripe flavors out of grapes grown during even the coolest of growing seasons. That talent is on display with the Coffee Pot Cellars 2008 Merlot ($18), a well-priced wine that shows classic cool-season Long Island terroir. Again made entirely with McCullough fruit, this wine shows aromas of black cherry, plum and subtle toasty oak with a sprinkling of dried thyme, baking spice and a bit of an earthy edge. Medium bodied with ripe, medium-grip tannins, there is a crunchy freshness to the fruit – again mostly cherry and plum – along with those pretty herbal notes. It’s not intense on the mid-palate and a bit short on the finish, but for $18 this is a wine worth checking out.
Even better, however, is the Coffee Pot Cellars 2008 Meritage ($22), a Merlot-heavy blend made with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The nose oozes blueberry, currant and plum fruit and subtle aromas of fennel seed, white pepper and other dried herbs. The palate is medium bodied but the tannins are far bigger here, providing grip and plenty of structure for ripe-but-restrained fruit intensity. Spicy and peppery on the finish, this is a wine that will improve with short-term aging.
Coffee Pot Cellars wines are available in wine shops on the North Fork with some distribution on the South Fork and Brooklyn. They are also available at The North Fork Table & Inn and Vine Street Cafe. For more information on store locations and to purchase the wines online visit www.coffeepotcellars.com.