Cabernet Franc is one of the classic poultry pairings which is why you may have heard it recommended paired with Thanksgiving dinner! The rich red fruit notes and dried herbal quality that Cabernet Francs are known for lend themselves to being excellent pairing wines for turkey, chicken, and duck. While we all have our favorite family Thanksgiving turkey recipe, I wanted to take this opportunity to share our new take on the classic!
This past Spring our General Manager Shelby and her husband Brad bought a smoker which has revolutionized the way they cook! In recent months Brad has been smoking chickens to great success and is planning to try out this dry rub on a spatchcocked smoked turkey this Thanksgiving. (Spatchcocking is the removal of the backbone so that the piece of meat lays flat and cooks faster.) While still yet to be tested on a turkey, it is a proven winner when it comes to chickens!
Brad's Dry Rub Smoked Chicken
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup paprika
- ¼ cup coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 whole chicken
- Pat your chicken dry inside and out with paper towels and allow it to temper on the counter for at least 15 minutes while you prepare your dry rub and smoker.
- To make your dry rub, combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl, whisk until well combined.
- Light your smoker and heat to at least 250°F.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and rub it all over with oil. Next, season generously with the dry rub, including seasoning the cavity and then let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- Place the chicken on the cooking grate, breast side down. Close the door and adjust grill temperature so that it remains at 235°F.
- Do NOT open the door for at least the first hour.
- After 2 hours of cooking, flip over your chicken. Also, this would be the time to rotate positions if you are smoking more than one chicken. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Approximate cook time 3-4 hours.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Check Out More Cooking with Suhru Recipes!
The holidays are just around the corner and that means it's that time of year where we all struggle to find the perfect gift for our friends, family, and loved ones! We know that gift giving can be stressful, so we are here to help!
If you are like us, most everyone on your list (the adults at least) enjoy a good glass of wine, so we are helping you take some of the guess-work out of gifting this year with our Wine Lover's Guide to the Holidays!
We've put together some of our favorite wines and wine-related gifts to help take some of the guess-work out of your holiday shopping! Explore our Guide below to find the perfect gift for all of the wine lovers on your list this holiday season.
Don't forget, we ship to 40+ states! Make your life a little easier and ship directly to friends and family around the country!
Traditional stocking stuffers of candy and trinkets are all well and good but why not add some spice to your stocking this year with a few fun wine related items? Try a Merlot Dark Chocolate Bar, local artisanal chocolate bars made specifically for Suhru using our own Merlot wine. Or take it up a notch and stuff those stockings with a Suhru can or two, guaranteed to make opening presents with the kiddos all that more enjoyable!
A classic oldie and most certainly a goodie, stick a couple Suhru Gift Cards in those stockings (available in $25 and $50 value) for the gift that keeps on giving! Gift cards can be used for wine and food purchases at the Tasting House.
Under the Tree
Who wouldn’t love to receive a bottle of wine for the holidays?! Share your favorite bottles of wine or perhaps gift one of our Suhru Favorites Bundles which include a bottle of Pinot Grigio and one of Ember, our Bordeaux blend!
One of our more popular items this year has been our stainless steel insulated tumblers (available in both black and white) which keep your beverages hot or cold for up to16 hours! These are great gifts for the wine lover in your life who is always on the go! They are great for the boat, the backyard, the beach, hiking, and wherever life takes you!
If you are looking to add a little more Suhru into your life or want to introduce friends and family to our wines, gift a couple of our Stemless Wine Glasses, both delicate and durable making them an excellent gift or addition to your home.
For Your Holiday Dinner
When it comes to the holiday season, the key is to never show up empty handed, whether it is simply a bottle of wine, a hostess gift, a home baked dessert (checkout our holiday cookie recipes) or a personalized item, the options are endless.
For a classic holiday pairing pickup a bottle of NV Brut, because you can never go wrong with a bottle of bubbly. With so much to celebrate during the holiday season the opportunities to pop a cork are endless! Our NV Brut is light and delicate with a hint of pear and honey crisp, a touch of brioche and a delicate stream of bubbles.
For a cocktail party, pre-dinner drinks, or any and all cheese and charcuterie board related activities, I always recommend a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc! This classic winter white, our French-style Sauv Blanc is crisp and refreshing with just the right amount of savory richness to pair beautifully with a wide range of cheeses, a great choice for a Feast of the Seven Fishes, and simply a delicious wine no matter the occasion.
For a hearty winter red the Ember is our go-to, it's a delicious sipper on its own and one we regularly enjoy when curled up by the fire watching the snow fall! Pair this beautiful Bordeaux blend with a hearty Holiday meal and you're sure to end this holiday season on a high note!
One last holiday recommendation (because I can't help myself) in the Hearn household it isn’t the holidays without a roast Australian lamb and what better to pair with your Australian themed dinner than a bottle of Shiraz? Made in a cool climate Australian style, our 2019 Shiraz pays homage to winemaker Russell Hearn's native country Australia adding that extra layer of home to the holidays. A delicious and expressive wine, our Shiraz has bright red fruit notes, a hint of cardamom and super soft, elegant tannins with a light hint of oak. No matter your holiday traditions, we have the wine for you!
Looking for recommended pairings? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to offer a recommendation or two for whatever you are serving this holiday season! Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Records of Cabernet Franc go back to the end of the 18th century in Bordeaux, although it was planted in Loire long before that time. Cabernet Franc first earned its popularity in the Loire Valley in the 1700’s, at the time it was known by its original name, Bouchet. Today Cabernet Franc is planted around the globe in America, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Hungary, Canada, Bulgaria, Croatia, and most recently China.
Fun Fact: Across the world, Cabernet Franc is one of the twenty most widely planted grape varieties.
This deeply colored, thin skinned berry offers floral, plum, blackberry, cassis, spice, fresh herbs and leafy aromas. Cabernet Franc is an excellent stand alone wine varietal producing rich, round, luscious red wines in addition to being a classic blending varietal specifically for Bordeaux style red blends.
DNA analysis indicates that Cabernet Franc is the parent of several grape varieties including Merlot and Carmenere. But perhaps its greatest claim is that it is the parent to Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Why its Well Suited to Long Island
One of the most widely planted red grape varietals on Long Island, Cabernet Franc grows best in stone, chalk soils and sandy terroir. The North Fork of Long Island is comprised of sandy loam soils with excellent internal drainage, modest fertility, and moderate water-holding capacity which control and limit the impact of the periodic summer rains, controlling vine growth and promoting grape ripening in the fall.
On the North Fork of Long Island our terroir is derived from our glacial soils, cool maritime climate and native flora. The soils have excellent drainage and our cool climate and proximity to the ocean means that our long summers are tempered by cooling breezes off the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean that prevent excessive summer heat. The surrounding water also gives off warmth extending summer into a mellow fall, allowing ample time for the fruit to ripen on the vine. Most similar in climate to Bordeaux, France the East End has embraced "old-world" vinifera grape varieties.
Suggested Food Pairings
A delicious sipper, this bold red pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods including swordfish, pork, roast chicken, grilled beef, sausage, lamb, veal, hearty fishes, hard and soft cheeses and duck.
Two particular favorites are a glass of Cabernet Franc with roasted or smoked lamb and in our opinion, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a bottle (or two) on the table!
Learn More About our Cabernet Franc
With the cold weather upon us, I am shifting my cooking focus to heartier, slow-roasted meals and richer red wines like our Cabernet Franc that warm you up from the inside out!
A staple cold-weather meal in my house is Roasted Leg of Lamb paired with garlic mashed potatoes, and a nice glass of Cabernet Franc. It is savory, succulent and in my opinion best enjoyed by the fire! There are a wide range of recipe options to choose from when it comes to lamb. If I’m being honest this is a meal I tend to "refer" to a recipe for, more than follow one because when it comes to roasting meat, the more garlic and rosemary you add, the better it will taste! A great starting point for this meal is Epicurious, which has a nice Rosemary Garlic Leg of Lamb recipe that you can doctor as you see fit to best suit your pallet.
You have choices when it comes to the wine pairing but I love to pair Cabernet Francs with Lamb, especially when fresh herbs are incorporated into the recipe, because the wine plays on those savory herbal notes bringing out that same quality in the glass.
Our Cabernet Franc has bright red fruit notes that act as a nice balance to the richer deeper flavors of the meat; and the light smokiness and fine tannins of the wine make it an excellent compliment to roasted, or smoked meats, happy cooking!
Learn More about our Cabernet Franc
One of the world's most popular red wines—Merlot is loved for its versatility! Here on the North Fork of Long Island it is one of the most prolific and widely planted varieties. A consistent ripener, Merlot makes beautiful blends as well as single varietal wines.
Although currently one of the most popular wines in the world, Merlot was originally considered a secondary grape by winemakers, believed to be best suited for blending rather than as a “stand alone” varietal. While there are now a plethora of delicious single varietal Merlot’s to choose from on the East End as well as around the globe, Merlot continues to be a favorite amongst winemakers when it comes to blending.
A Brief History of the Grape
Merlot was first mentioned in 1784, in Bordeaux. Back then it was called Merlau or Merle. It is said that Merlot was named after the “blackbirds” that loved to eat the ripe grapes, these birds were a similar blue, black color to the ripe grapes.
Still the most planted grape in Bordeaux France, Merlot grows alongside the other classic Bordeaux red varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In Italy, Merlot was originally called Bordo and is widely used as a blending grape in Super Tuscan wines.
Planted all over the world, Merlot grows well on sandy loam or well-drained soils that have good moisture holding capacity. Well suited to cool climate regions (think Long Island) Merlot ripens into dark blue to black berries with thin skins and loose, large bunches.
Fun Fact: the most expensive Merlot was sold at auction in 2011. A case of 1961 Petrus went for $144,000 USD which comes to $12,000 a bottle!
Merlot reached its peak popularity in the US in the 1990’s, then experienced a drop in popularity after the movie Sideways came out in which Paul Giammatti's character poked fun at the wine, saying Merlot is bland and the market is oversaturated with the varietal. In the two decades since, Merlot has made a comeback and is currently the second most popular grape varietal in the United States.
A Closer Look at our Merlot
Classic old-world style, our 2017 T'Jara Merlot is the last wine made under the T'Jara Vineyards label and will be succeeded by the first Suhru Wines Merlot which will be released in 2023. A medium to full bodied wine with beautiful blueberry, maraschino cherry and tea leaf aromas on the nose mingled with a hint of mint. On the palate you'll see notes of red raspberry and cranberry with fine tannins on the mid palate through the finish.
Recommended Food Pairings
Like all reds, Merlot is best served at room temperature (60 – 65 degrees F). Medium to full-bodied reds in general are recommended to be served at a low 60 degrees Fahrenheit to best showcase the ripe fruit notes and soft tannins. Merlot pairs well with a variety of foods including white and dark meats from chicken, turkey and pork as well as pasta, burgers and pizza.
Make sure to open your favorite bottle of Merlot on International Merlot Day this November 7th, and toast this versatile grape as you savor every sip!
Learn More About our Merlot
A Note from Winemaker, Russell Hearn
October has been kind with a beautiful spell of warm weather in the mid to late portions of the month. The above normal temperatures and dry spell that we have had in October have allowed the red varieties to ripen nicely across Long Island. Early in October I was a little concerned about the red grapes but the warm Indian Summer we experienced in the middle of the month has really allowed for the red varieties to reach full ripeness. We haven't had an Indian Summer for several years but when they do come, they make some of the best quality reds.
We harvested our Teroldego and Shiraz last week on October 24th and 25th just before this last bout of rain. They had developed nicely during the beautiful long spell of sunny days and we are very happy with the fruit quality that came into the winery! Both varieties 'cold soaked' in the tank (50 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3-4 days to extract the initial skin tannins and color before being warmed up to initiate fermentation.
Our Bordeaux varieties—Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot—all needed a little more time on the vine to fully ripen so we waited through the most recent rain event and began harvesting these grapes in the first few days of November with the Cabernet Franc harvested on November 1st and the Merlot on November 2nd. I am hopeful that we will have several more sunny, and dry days ahead to allow the grapes to fully ripen. The plan is to let our Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot hang on the vine a little longer, aiming to harvest towards the end of the first week or first half of the second week of November.
Sometimes harvesting in early November is necessary to fully ripen the fruit. This extended hang time allows for some dehydration in the berries which intensifies the flavor profile. So this year our winery team will be working over the Thanksgiving period, punching down the fermenting tanks and getting close to pressing off shortly afterwards. We plan to be enjoying a bottle of our 2019 Shiraz with our Thanksgiving turkey while probably pressing off the 2021 Shiraz around the same time.
Our first Cabernet Franc under the Suhru label, we are very excited to share this much anticipated new wine! This classic expression of a cool climate Cabernet Franc has a rich garnet hue, with bright fruit and notes of black currant, raspberry, and a hint of anise on the nose. This bold red has a nice mid palate with notes of mocha and cocoa, fine lingering tannins and a light smokiness on the finish with the slightest hint of vanilla.
In 2019 we saw a very nice growing season and were very happy with the fruit intensity and ripe tannin structure of this wine. Cabernet Franc grows beautifully on the North Fork of Long Island and the 2019 harvest was no exception.
In the last several years we have seen this varietal continue to receive critical acclaim and rightly so. Russell, our winemaker, has seen dramatic changes to the perception of Cabernet Franc during his winemaking career. He made his first stand alone varietal Cabernet Franc at Pellegrini Vineyards in 1994 from vines that were originally planted to be used for blending rather than for a stand alone varietal wine. Since then Cabernet Franc has grown to be a staple of Long Island. Russell (and the whole Suhru family) are very happy to share Suhru’s first vintage of Cabernet Franc (and his 26th vintage of Cab Franc as a Long Island winemaker).
A Closer Look at Cabernet Franc
This varietal Cabernet Franc is blended with 12% Teroldego and 6% Merlot to enhance the fruit and body of the wine. The three varieties were each fermented in open top tanks and punched down during their time on skins. The goal being to extract color and tannin without the astringency, before pressing to retain the vibrant fruit notes. The wine is then aged for 14 months in a combination of Hungarian and French oak.
This beautiful, bold red will pair wonderfully with rich, fuller meals such as roasted pork, turkey, stews, tomato based sauces, lamb, and roasted duck. An excellent cheese wine, try with brie, goat cheeses, and bleus!
Learn More About our Cabernet Franc
Over the last week the focus in the winery has switched over to the red harvest, so we thought we'd take a quick moment to review how red wine is made. Once our red fruit has been hand-harvested and delivered by tractor to the winery the grapes are destemmed and put through the must chiller which brings the berries to a consistent 50 degrees and agitates the berries, bursting them open. These berries, juice skins, seeds and all are pumped into open-top tanks where the magic of fermentation occurs.
When the internal temperature of the tank has reached 80 degrees it is time to inoculate! The grape must (freshly crushed juice, skins, seeds, and stems) is inoculated with the winemaker's desired yeast and begins fermentation. When we talk about fermentation in wine we are referring to the chemical process of yeast cells consuming the naturally occurring sugars in the grape juice, producing alcohol and releasing carbon dioxide and heat. During the ferment as CO2 is released it rises, lifting the skins to the top of the tank.
All of the tanks at the winery are temperature controlled by heating/cooling jackets that are built into the tank. These "jackets" control the internal temperature of the tank which is key during fermentation as yeast likes very specific conditions. Too warm and the yeast will overheat and die, too cold and the yeast will fall dormant and fermentation stops.
We need to ensure that the juice stays in contact with the skins throughout the fermentation process as the skins are what give red wine its color and tannin. As a result, throughout the fermentation process "punch-downs" or "pump-overs" occur regularly. At Suhru we use the punch-down method to ensure our red wines extract all of the desired color, flavor and tannin from the grape skins. Punch-downs are done mechanically by using a large mechanical foot or punch-down device which breaks up the grape skin cap that forms at the surface of the tank and reintroduces the skins into the juice. This process is done three times a day at the beginning of fermentation, gradually slowing down as the rate of fermentation slows and less and less CO2 is released. The time necessary to complete fermentation can take anywhere from 14 days up to a month depending on the healthiness of the yeast and the amount of sugar in the juice.
Once the fermentation process is complete and all of the sugars have been converted to alcohol the grape skins settle to the bottom of the tank and the juice is drained off and pumped into a new tank. In order to ensure we get every last drop of wine from the settled skins, the remaining grape skins are shoveled out of the tank and forklifted over to the press where we extract the remaining wine.
From here the wine is racked into oak barrels where it undergoes secondary fermentation or malolactic fermentation. During this second fermentation process the sharp, astringent malic acid is converted into lactic acid which gives the wine a softer, rounder mouth-feel and more pleasant drinking experience.
Once this process is complete the wine is racked into different barrels where it will stay in our temperature controlled barrel room for the next few months as it ages. Throughout the aging process the wines will be regularly checked and tested to assess a number of key components to ensure the wine is developing as expected.
Before bottling, the red wine is filtered to make sure it is clear and free of any microbial bacteria. The bottles are then aged for three to twelve months, and released once our winemaker deems them ready for consumption.
Checkout our Red Wines!
Harvest is well underway! The Fall is always a busy time of year on the North Fork and this season is no different! Long Island is currently rounding the corner on the white and rosé harvest with winemakers beginning to turn their eyes towards the red harvest.
At Suhru we have completed our sparkling harvest with the juice for our Brut as well as our Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc picked, harvested, and fermenting away in the winery. Our attention has turned to our Rosé and Riesling grapes which are being picked this week, and will be inoculated and begin their fermentation in the coming days followed by our red varietals which will all be harvested by the end of October.
This is one of our favorite times of the year, as this is when all the action happens at the winery! Over the next few months we will be keeping you up-to-date on the Blog and on our social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok) on whats happening in the winery and the vineyard during the 2021 Harvest, so stay tuned and follow along!
What's Happening at the Winery
Inoculations and fermentations are the topic of the day in the winery. The cellar crew has been busy settling, racking, filtering, and fermenting our white and rosé wines. This time of year, the winery team at Premium Wine Group is working diligently round the clock (literally, they work 3 shifts, 20+ hours a day, 7 days a week) to ensure that our freshly picked grapes turn into wine! The crush pad is a constant flurry of activity with grapes being harvested across the East End daily! Read more about Premium Wine Group, where we make our wines in Newsday.
A Note from Winemaker Russell Hearn
Whites and rosé have been harvested, and we are looking ahead to the red harvest. All the whites are looking good. We're especially excited about the quality of this year's Sauvignon Blanc which was picked last week and has begun fermentation.
A good vineyard team is essential to a winemaker's ability to make high quality wines as your vineyard manager has eyes on the vines and is in the vineyard every day. In addition to my regular visits, I am getting regular reports from the vineyard managers from the dozen vineyards we work with and conducting berry analysis to evaluate the ripeness of the grapes to determine when they are ready to be harvested. There is a lot that can be discerned about a grape's ripeness by sight and taste, but nothing beats lab analysis. We are carefully watching our Teroldego and Shiraz vineyards, two of our earliest ripening reds and the next to be harvested.
At this point, we are watching the weather, hoping for favorable forecasts including, sun, warm days and less rain then we have been seeing recently for optimal ripening!
Learn More About What's Happening at Suhru
With temperatures dropping and leaves beginning to turn our minds often turn to red wines, while there are many fantastic reds out there to choose from, one of our favorite Fall wines is Dry Riesling, which is this October's Wine of the Month!
Rieslings and Dry Rieslings specifically are excellent Fall wines because they offer the perfect balance of fruitiness, acidity, and sweetness making them wonderful food pairing wines, specifically with all of the classic dishes we associate with Fall here in the US, think butternut squash, Thanksgiving turkey, apple pie, and more!
A Closer Look at the Vineyard
At Suhru Wines we source our fruit, meaning that we work with vineyards across the North Fork of Long Island and one in the Finger Lakes to ensure we get the highest level of quality fruit for our wines. We choose to source our Riesling fruit from the Finger Lakes because their climate allows them to grow the best Riesling fruit in New York state and some of the best in the world!
While a cold region, the Finger Lakes are able to successfully grow vinifera grape varietials because their proximity to a large body of water (same with us here on Long Island) acts to regulate the temperature. The Finger Lakes are very deep and due to their size retain heat, meaning that vines planted close to the water enjoy moderate temperatures. The lakes warm the surrounding land, preventing roots from freezing during cold winters and protecting vines against sudden spring freezes and late frosts. Excellent drainage is also very important to grape vines and the Finger Lakes boast shale soils on the hillsides leading down to the lake making it an ideal growing environment.
We have been working with the Vineyards at Dalrymple Farms for several years now. Dalrymple vineyards mature under the careful eye of second-generation grape growers, who have been tending vines in the Finger Lakes region of New York since the early 1960’s. A balance of experience and technology allows Bill Dalrymple to grow some of the best varietals in the region.
Utilizing the resources provided by the Viticulture Department of Cornell University, Dalrymple is experimenting with the ‘Dosavina’ program to further enhance its efforts in environmental responsibility. ‘Dosavina’ allows growers’ to measure necessary vineyard treatments by leaf count instead of acreage. This reduces spray applications by 33% while maintaining the quality of the fruit grown. Suhru Wines is proud to be partnered with Dalrymple Farms and their Eco-friendly practices.
A Closer Look at our Dry Riesling
Made entirely in stainless steel tanks to accentuate the minerality of the wine, our 2019 Dry Riesling retains a zingy vibrant acidity. Double Gold and 96pt score winner at the 2021 International Eastern Wine Competition, this pale yellow wine has bold, bright aromatics and rich notes of honey and apricot and crisp notes of clementine, honey dew melon, white peach, musk pear, and starfruit on the palate. An excellent sipping wine, the crisp acidity means it pairs wonderfully with a wide range of dishes including seafood, Asian cuisines, dry-rub barbecue, Fall produce, turkey, duck, and spicier dishes.
In 2019 the Finger Lakes—where this fruit was grown—saw a more vigorous growing season than years past, with more "sun or degree" days at the vineyard. As a result, the grapes ripened earlier resulting in riper fruit while the pH remained low, the ideal scenario when it comes to white wines. Therefore our 2019 Dry Riesling has a slightly higher residual sugar than years past. This exceptional wine is drinking beautifully at the moment and will only continue to improve with age (yes Rieslings are a white wine that can age!).