With the warm weather upon us we cannot get enough of this Merlot! While the days are getting warmer we are still enjoying cooler nights and I for one have found myself repeatedly grabbing a glass of Merlot to enjoy in the backyard by the fire. Something about the rich fruit notes and soft finish makes it the perfect compliment to the warm days turned cool nights.
Our 2017 T'Jara Merlot is fruity and luscious and everything you want in a red wine this time of year! Made in the classic old-world style, the 2017 Merlot is medium to full bodied with ripe red fruit notes of raspberry and cranberry mixed with dark notes of blueberry, blackberry and plum. Lush and round with fine tannins this easy red sipper pairs beautifully with food and stands up nicely on its own!
Keep an eye on the Blog for a few fun "Cooking with Suhru" recipes coming out soon!
Why Is Merlot So Prolific on the North Fork?
Merlot is the most widely planted variety on the East End of Long Island. This varietal flourishes in our cool climate region and ripens mid harvest, usually in the second or third week of October. Being one of the earlier ripening reds planted out here means that the fruit ripens and is harvested prior to most of the major weather events that threaten the crop, think hurricanes and early frosts.
In a hotter region this variety loses its sweet fruit aromatics and mid palate fullness. Due to the hotter temperatures the fruit ripens more rapidly resulting in higher sugar content in the grapes which leads to higher alcohol in the wine which overwhelms the tannic structure of the varietal.
While you can grow Merlot in a variety of different regions (it is the second most widely planted grape variety on the globe), it is well established that the Bordeaux region in France is growing some of the best Merlot. If you take a closer look at the Bordeaux region, you may notice that we on Long Island are located on almost the same latitude meaning that we have a very similar climate, weather patterns, and growing conditions making us an excellent region to grow Merlot.
A Closer Look at the Vineyard
Our 2017 Merlot is made under our T'Jara label. T'Jara is the phonetic spelling of an Aboriginal word that means "place where I am from". For all of our T'Jara wines, they are grown at a dedicated vineyard in Mattituck which is located on an elevated, south facing parcel of land. This is an important feature as south facing land means that the vines get more direct sun exposure during the day leading to better grape development. In addition, the elevated nature of this piece of land in relation to the surrounding properties allows for good wind and air flow throughout the growing season.
When it comes to vineyard management air flow is key. Particularly on the North Fork where we tend to get humid and wet days during the growing season, the ample air flow ensures that the humidity does not collect around the vines which would lead to added disease pressure and rot.
In the 2017 vintage, we saw a warm growing season with a very dry Harvest period, which is what you want in the vineyard. Grape vines are one of the few crops that like a little drought pressure. Grape vines like well drained soil so for a grape grower, a dry spell is ideal because we can turn on our irrigation and control the amount of water the vines receive. In addition to the daytime weather, in 2017 the Fall evenings in the weeks leading up to harvesting in early October saw lower than normal temperatures which allowed for
longer 'hang time' on the vine before picking which resulted in the very expressive fruitiness of this wine.
Want to learn more about this vintage? Checkout our 2017 Merlot!
Every month we feature one of our wines, and this month is no different. As we usher in Spring and enjoy those beautiful first warm, sunny days we are proud to be highlighting our 2019 Sauvignon Blanc as our April Wine of the Month!
While I would (and have) happily argued that this wine is excellent in any season, I especially love it in the Spring. This wine has a soft, delicate flavor with a nice fruitiness and crisp finish that gently leads you into the warmer months while the subtle minerality begs to be paired with the local seafood and produce that is once again appearing on farm stands across the East End. Maybe it's just me, but is it really Spring if you haven't sat outside in the backyard with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a plate of freshly shucked local oysters?!
This month we have a number of exciting announcements and blog posts that we will be releasing over the coming weeks, so be sure to check back every Wednesday for exciting recipes, a special giveaway with our friends at Peconic Gold Oysters, and so much more! Plus, as an added bonus, throughout the month of April we are offering $6 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc at the Tasting House, be sure to make a reservation!
A Closer Look
Possibly our best ever, the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc saw changes to our winery program and we couldn't be happier with the results. As you taste this wine you may notice after the initial fruitiness of the wine subsides—gooseberry and lime on the nose and Fuji pear on the palate—you get a nice richness and round mouthfeel accentuated by an almost creamy character. With white wines we often associate creaminess or buttery characteristics with barrel fermented whites, and while this wine does not ever come into contact with oak it does have that rich, creamy depth and complexity on the finish. A newer winemaking technique that we introduced to our white wines in 2019, this wine spends 4 months sur lie after it has completed the fermentation. This process gives it that richness and added depth of flavor.
The term "sur lie" which means "on the lees" in French and refers to the process of aging a wine in contact with its fermentation lees aka the dead yeast cells. But let me step back for a moment and explain—during fermentation, yeast is introduced into the freshly crushed grape juice. The yeast cells actively consume the naturally occurring sugars in the grape juice, producing alcohol, and releasing CO2. When the yeast cells have consumed all of the sugars in the wine, they die and precipitate out of the solution, settling to the bottom of the tank.
These dead yeast cells are then referred to as "lees" and are usually racked off or in other words separated from the wine at the completion of the fermentation process. However in some cases these lees are saved and reintroduced into the wine during the aging process to add a further depth of flavor to the wine, which is what we have done with this vintage. The extended aging sur lie adds a hint of creaminess, a little more roundness to the mouthfeel, and an extra level of depth that you wouldn't see otherwise making it a more interesting and complex wine all around!
One of the more interesting and unique wines in the Suhru Wines family, Teroldego is a Northern Italian red variety primarily grown in the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. With only one known planting on Long Island, we count ourselves lucky to have access to and be able to produce this robust and delicious wine.
Our 2019 Teroldego has quickly become a staff favorite at Suhru! With its deep color, rich red fruit notes and warm baking spices on the nose with delicious red pairs wonderfully with a wide range of dishes from grilled swordfish, roasted duck, teriyaki salmon, gamey poultry, apple pie, walnut goat cheese pear salad, or brisket just to name a few!
If you haven't yet had the chance to taste this tantalizing red, be sure to stop by the Tasting House this month, as it is featured on our tasting menu this March as our Wine of the Month!
A Note from our Winemaker, Russell Hearn
"I have always enjoyed the Alto Adige grape Teroldego as a consumer but never thought about its connection to our region. When Reagan Meador (previously the owner of Southold Farm + Cellar) produced wines at Premium Wine Group I was reminded of the varieties affinity to a cool climate region. When he sold his vineyard I made it a mission to lease/source fruit from this vineyard and in 2019 succeeded producing our first Suhru Teroldego.
Teroldego is one of many well suited varieties to our region but the beauty of this variety in particular is how early it ripens (early to mid October) meaning that is ripens before it becomes at risk from some of the later harvest natural weather events we experience such as hurricanes and early frosts."
A Closer Look at the Vineyard
When talking about grapes and winemaking we often find ourselves discussing a region or a vineyards "terroir". In case you're not familiar with this term, terroir refers to the influences of soil, climate and human intervention on the grapes. Each region and each vineyard has its own specific terroir that influences how grapes grow and taste. When it comes to the North Fork of Long Island, it is our maritime climate (proximity to the ocean which regulates our seasons and temperatures) and our sandy loam soils (the result of glacier deposits) that are some of the largest contributors to our unique growing conditions.
The soils of the North Fork differ very little in the loam/sand/silt composition however the highest variable is the sand. This changes how quickly summer rains percolate through and out of the root zone which is essential when we are looking at grapes. Grape vines are one of the few crops that prefers less rather than more rainfall as they do not like standing water in or around their roots.
Our cool Maritime climate is very suitable to the ripening requirements of Teroldego. Our Teroldego vineyard, located in Southold, is moderately high in the loam/silt content so retains water a little longer than others and the vines ripens more gradually. Vineyards with sandier soil compositions on the other hand ripen earlier as the sand heats up warming the ground and ripening the fruit.
Teroldego is an early ripening red (early to mid October) that does not like or need a lot of heat for maturity so the silt/loam soils content allows for slower more gradual ripening ensuring a fully ripened berry in the cooler months of the fall when the grapes can retain higher acidity.
This site is a little elevated versus its surrounding land so it receives all the wind generated from the land/water effect of a Maritime Climate. This helps decrease humidity by enhancing air movement to reduce 'fungal disease pressure'.
Interested in learning more about this fascinating, lesser known varietial?
Check out our "History of the Grape" blog post!
Harvest has started on the North Fork! While we are yet to begin harvesting our vineyards, a number of wineries across Long Island are busy bringing in fruit for their sparkling wines!
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 Instagram account on everything going on in the winery and the vineyard during the 2020 Harvest!
What's Happening in the Winery
With the beginning of our harvest season quickly approaching, this week has been spent preparing for fruit receival and readying the winery for the first grapes to arrive (aka lots of cleaning!) As our winemaker Russell loves to say "Winemaking is 70% Sanitation, 20% Perspiration, 9% Inspiration, and 1% Degustation, but only at the end of the day!"
When grapes arrive at the winery their first stop in their journey into wine is the crush-pad which is where all the action happens. The crush-pad is home to the de-stemmer, presses, weight scale, and a number of other machines that ensure that the first stages of the grapes post-picking journey to become wine goes smoothly. We have been readying our crush-pad for the last few weeks and just had new membranes installed to ensure everything is ready to go for the 2020 harvest season! Over the next few days the winery crew will be busy cleaning and sanitizing all the harvest equipment: hoses, piping, hoppers, destemmer/crusher and the presses in preparation to receive fruit, which could potentially be coming as early as next week.
While all of this is going on outside on the crush-pad the cellar is being prepared for harvest as well, cleaning tanks, making sure everything is organized, and preparing several harvest devices such as the 'punch-down tool' for red wine fermentations 5-6 weeks away.
What's Happening in the Vineyard
In the vineyards, Russell is carefully watching the grapes and monitoring their sugar content (Brix) which is used to determine the grapes ripeness to determine when to pick our grapes. He is regularly walking the vineyards, inspecting the grapes, speaking to the vineyard managers, and testing the grapes. As we get closer to picking he will be carefully monitoring the weather. The goal is always to harvest grapes after several dry days. Whenever possible you want to avoid harvesting shortly after a rain as the grapes will be bloated with water they absorbed.
A Note from Winemaker Russell Hearn
I never make predictions on the quality of the Harvest until 'all the fruit is in the building' however, 2020 is setting up very nicely and we are anticipating a good harvest. The growing season started very slowly this Spring with May and early June being much cooler and wetter than normal, which seems to be becoming the norm on the East End the last few years. Since then we have enjoyed a beautiful run of warm weather with very little rain (what we hope for in an ideal grape growing season). We are below normal in rainfall since June and have needed to drip irrigate several times during the last three months, which is always a good sign for quality. When the potato and sod farmers are grumbling about the dryness, the vineyard managers and winemakers are smiling! Grapes vines like a little stress during the growing season, with long dry summers and minimal rain being their ideal growing season. This harvest is shaping up to be very similar to 2019, so with some continued dry conditions I am very hopeful.
We have a number of exciting new Releases this September that we are excited to share with you including the 2019 vintage releases of our Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and brand new, soon-to-be-released Teroldego!
2019 Pinot Grigio
Our signature wine, we are very excited to release this new Pinot Grigio! In 2019 we saw a slow start to the growing season with a cold wet May but the summer months more than made up for it with a hot, dry summer and minimal rainfall which is exactly what we are looking for when it comes to grape growing!
With a strong growing season behind us Russell was able to do what he does best and showcase the bright, crisp, fruity flavors of the berries into the Suhru Pinot Grigio we all know and love. The stainless steel fermented white is 100% Pinot Grigio and recently received a 89pt score from Wine Advocate!
The 2019 vintage is bright and crisp, with nice lemon and lime zest notes jumping from the glass and a nice hint of granny smith apple and bosc pear on the palate. The crisp, bright flavors and refreshing acidity offers a diverse range of food compliments. Try a glass with lighter flavors such as fish, salads, chicken, cheese, or a meatier fish like swordfish. Happy sipping!
2019 Sauvignon Blanc
This may be our best Sauvignon Blanc yet! As I said above with the Pinot Grigio, 2019 was a great growing season for white wines and the Sauvignon Blanc fruit was no exception. Deliciously fruity, the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc has hints of gooseberry on the nose giving way to lush, rich flavors on the palate.
Past vintages of our Sauvignon Blanc have leaned into the tropical notes with passion fruit and pineapple being the distinctive characteristics. With the 2019 we are seeing more complexity, richness, and depth coming through while still maintaining those bright crisp flavors that we all love.
The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc has a bright acidity on the palate with notes of lime, a light grassiness and a subtle richness. Fuji pear notes and a round mouthfeel give way to a soft minerality and defined brightness on the finish, all showcasing the distinctive characteristics of the varietal which make it such a beautiful pairing with seafood and local produce.
We are also happy to announce that the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc received a 89pt score in the most recent publication of Wine Advocate!
Want to learn more about our Sauvignon Blanc? Check out the Tasting Notes!
We are beyond excited to be announcing the upcoming release of the newest addition to the Suhru Wines portfolio, our brand new 2019 Teroldego!
Teroldego is a lesser known Northern Italian varietal (best known as the nephew of an old French variety that was the parent of Syrah) and is a rarity on the North Fork. To our knowledge there is only one vineyard on the East End with this grape variety planted and we are very excited to have gotten our hands on it!
This unique red wine is the perfect Fall release as it is rich with warm baking spices on the nose with hints of anise, cinnamon, and red currant. Dark red, almost black in color and completely opaque in the glass this medium-light bodied wine is deliciously fruity with red raspberry notes mingled with wild briar fruit.
An extremely food friendly wine, this Teroldego pairs nicely with fish, duck, swordfish, salmon, and gamey poultry. For more adventurous pairings try the bottle with teriyaki salmon, apple pie, walnut goat cheese pear salad, or brisket!
This wine will be released on our website on Tuesday, September 15th and in our Tasting House on Thursday, September 17th. Want to learn more about this exciting new red? Check out the Tasting Notes and keep an eye on our Blog for an in-depth History of the Grape!
Welcome to the Blog! We are SO excited to launch this blog and be able to bring you regular posts throughout the month!
We have a few posts planned at this point but would love to hear your feedback so we can make this blog the best it can be and ensure that we are spending our time wisely, bringing you the posts you most want to read!
Please take a moment to complete the form below by checking the boxes of the types of content you are most interested in seeing featured on this blog. Thank you!!