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!