When it comes to selecting a bottle, your personal tastes and preferences influence the wines you choose. One of the many great reasons to taste wines is to explore those tastes and preferences by expanding your exposure to new and exciting wines! We always recommend visiting a winery tasting room for the complete immersive experience but you can go wine tasting at home simply by following these simple 5 steps.
How Does Taste Work?
Take a deep breathe through your nose. Notice how you feel the air passing through the back of your throat? That's because your nose and mouth conect to the same airway at the back of your throat meaning that your sense of smell and your sense of taste are dependant on one another which is why when you smell something particularoy apetizing your mouth starts to water.
If you have ever taken a look at your tongue you may have noticed the hundreds of little bumps (or taste buds) dotting the surface of your tongue. It is those taste buds that interact with the foods we place into our mouths and send messages to our brain identifying if foods one of the five main taste categories—salty, sweet, sour, bitter or umami (a meaty, savory taste).
You tongue identifies the 5 main tastes categories but it is your nose and your sense of smell that decipher the nuances and individual flavors of those tastes which is why it is so important to engage both your sense of smell and taste when tasting wine, food, or other beverages.
Engage Your Senses
Spring has Sprung on the North Fork—flowers are in bloom, buds are opening in vineyards across the East End, farm stands have fresh local produce on their shelves, and the warm weather is here to stay! After a long, albeit mild, winter we are excited to reopen our Wine Garden and be able to once again enjoy our wines alfresco!
The team has been busy these past few months, planning an exciting summer full of great events and giving the interior of the Tasting House and our backyard Wine Garden a refresh and a new look.
Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching and with it, the official beginning of Summer! We have a number of great events happening over the long weekend and carrying through the warm weather months ahead...
Fireside Fridays are back and better than ever!
Loved cozying up by the fire in the wine garden last Fall? Now you can do it all season long! Join us for Fireside Fridays this Memorial through Columbus Day. The Tasting House will be open until 7pm on Friday evenings with our outdoor fire pits lit at 4PM (weather permitting). Merlot Dark Chocolate S'mores Plates available Fridays only!
The Return of the Lobster Roll
The Summer Season has arrived and with it Lobster Rolls! Join us for Lobster Roll Sliders and a glass of wine, available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Tasting House Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
Annual Oysters & Wine
We are thrilled to once again be hosting Southold Bay Oysters on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend! Enjoy freshly shucked oysters, along with the full Suhru menu from 1-5pm on Sunday, May 28th.
More Great Events to Be Aware of:
- Weekly Happy Hour, every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 3-6pm join us for $8 glasses of white and rosé wines, $10 glasses of red, and a weekly food special!
- Sunday, May 14th we are hosting our Annual Wildflowers & Wine event with our friends at Nerdling Acres, seating is limited and tickets are going fast so be sure to grab your soon!
- Find us on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society every other Friday from 3-7pm in June - October. Sue will be showcasing a selection of our white, rosé and red wines each week available for taste and to purchase by the bottle.
- Watercolors & Wine Workshop—enjoy a glass of Suhru wine while painting a North Fork Coastal seashell in this immersive workshop with local watercolor artist Melissa Hyatt.
- Two Truths & a Lie: Palate Training 101—put your palate to the test with this immersive tasting experience diving into a variety of styles and flavors. Don’t let yourself be swayed by the power of suggestion. In this 90 minute class you will become a detective for the day as we will taste 3 different styles of wines, each paired with 3 flavor pairings. Can you decipher which of the flavors and aromas exist in your glass and which is the imposter?
- Save the Date: Labor Day Weekend Oysters & Wine, reservations coming soon!
We are proud to announce the release of Suhru Wines's 2022 La Crescent, released March 15, 2023, the first La Crescent produced on Long Island. The launch of this wine marks Assistant Winemaker Brad Ulrich's debut as a winemaker and a very promising start to his career. “I was drawn in by the flavor. This varietal has very strong citrus notes and a fruity aroma. After using it in blending for Suhru’s 2021 Rosé I believed it could be made into a very nice stand alone wine.”
A Brief History of the Grape
A new wine varietal, La Crescent is a Hybrid variety developed at the University of Minnesota and released to the industry in 2002. The grape was named “La Crescent” (pronounced like crescent moon), after a town along the Mississippi River in Minnesota. It has shown strong promise and is well suited to the cool and cold climates of the Northeast. Its winter hardiness, vigor and climate adaptability make it a natural fit for a Sustainable minded winemaker.
This grape is often characterized by its fruitiness due to high levels of aromatic, phenolic compounds like terpenes. Known to have floral, fruit forward flavors, rich tropical and citrus notes, La Crescent is a descendant of Muscat. Another key characteristic of the grape is high acidity, making it well suited to a variety of winemaking styles.
A Note from Assistant Winemaker Brad Ulrich
I am very excited to release our 2022 La Crescent. It is a variety that caught my attention during the 2020 and 2021 harvests and that I have been looking forward to working with more closely. One of the reasons I was so excited to work with La Crescent as a single variety wine, is because it is a new grape variety to the wine world; there are very few examples and no real road map to follow. There are only a handful of other La Crescent wines out there that are currently being produced. Because it is such an “unknown” grape it allowed us the freedom to get creative in the winery and experiment with a number of winemaking techniques and blending options to accentuate the natural citrus flavors of the varietal.
A Closer Look at Suhru La Crescent
The release of our 2022 La Crescent marks the start of a new collection of Suhru Wines, designed to highlight some of the lesser known grape varietals being grown across New York State. Gone are the days when wine lovers only reach for the classic European grape varieties. As evident by the success of our Teroldego, which we first produced in 2019. Wine enthusiasts are excited by and interested in trying something new. “We are finding this particularly true with the younger generation of wine drinkers, making it the perfect grape for Assistant Winemaker Brad Ulrich debut wine, as he continues to express and define his personal winemaking style,” said winemaker Russell Hearn.
A refreshing, bright, approachable wine with dynamic fruit notes and a big burst of flavor. This easy drinking white is light bodied with a soft, refreshing finish and a touch of sweetness.
Learn More About La Crescent
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 Merlot was released to the public on February 1, 2023 and is quickly becoming a crowd favorite! This old-world style red is a beautiful representation of North Fork Merlot. The staple of Long Island Wine Country, Merlot is wonderfully well suited to our cool, maritime climate with consistent ripening and excellent aging potential. A medium bodied wine with beautiful red fruit notes and hints of spice on the nose with red fruit flowing onto the palate. It is elegant with a light hint of vanilla and a seamless, silky 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, cheese plates, beef stew and more.
Make sure to open your favorite bottle of Merlot and toast this versatile grape as you savor every sip!
Learn More About our Merlot
It may seem the obvious choice, but you can never go wrong with a baked brie! Hot, gooey cheese? Yes please! However if you are looking for an elevated approach I highly recommend dressing this classic appetizer up with a handful of chopped nuts, fresh fruit or fruit jam and a few fresh herbs which will take this simple (albeit delicious) dish to the next level.
While there are a variety of wines that you could choose to pair with this particular dish—think Brut, Sauvignon Blanc or a variety of reds—at Suhru we are partial to the Teroldego. The bright red fruit flavors, subtle tannins and soft acidity make this an excellent pairing for a rich, savory dish like a baked brie. The fresh fruit of preserves will bring out the ripe red fruit notes on the pallet while the fresh herbs nod to the savory quality of the wine on the finish.
Once the cool weather sets in there is nothing quite like a Sunday Roast served over a bed of root vegetables, paired with a bottle of Shiraz and shared with family and friends!
Given our family's Australian heritage—winemaker Russell Hearn was born in and grew up in Australia—lamb and Shiraz are a regular occurrence on our family dinner table. There is something about the soft, spicy hints of pepper and ripe red fruit notes that make Shiraz—Australian style Shiraz in particular—such a fantastic pairing with lamb.
This particular recipe was developed by Assistant Winemaker Brad Ulrich and showcases the classic Lamb Roast in a new way. Stop by the Tasting House to pick up a Lamb Roulade Recipe Card complete with wine pairing and tasting notes.
We are excited to announce the release of our new 2021 Sauvignon Blanc! The 2021 vintage brings a slightly different flavor profile, showcasing bold tropical notes along with the classic minerality and soft finish. We hope you stop by the Tasting House to taste the new vintage sometime soon!
This vintage has a lively fruitiness with rich tropical notes of passionfruit, mango, and papaya on the nose. Tropical flavors continue to flow on the pallet. Bright flavors give way to a cleansing crisp finish, all showcasing the distinctive characteristics of the varietal.
While often associated with warmer weather, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular winter white varieties. Its minerality and soft fruit notes make Sauvignon Blanc an excellent pairing option with poultry, pasta, roasted vegetables, winter soups, and more.
We highly recommend trying our Sauvignon Blanc paired with Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo! You can find this recipe and more in the Cooking with Suhru section of the Suhru Blog or stop by the Tasting House for a recipe card, happy sipping!
As you drive around the North Fork, you likely will see many teams out in the vineyard working to ensure the grapes ripen to their full potential throughout the growing season. While often an overlooked component of the winemaking process, good vineyard management is essential to good winemaking.
A wine is only as good as the grapes it comes from and good vineyard practices throughout the year mean less intervention and a more hands off approach can be taken by the winemaker and the winemaking team once the fruit arrives at the winery.
There are two main ways to harvest grapes, by hand and by machine. At Suhru, we hand harvest the majority of our grapes. The decision to hand harvest vs mechanical harvest depends on a multitude of factors including the grape varietal, condition of the grapes, and style of wine you are trying to make. Let's explore the differences!
For many grape varieties and styles, particularly early ripening white wine grapes, mechanical harvesting is a more efficient and cost effective approach. In mechanical harvesting a harvester machine straddles the grape vine, gently shaking the vine which dislodges the berries dropping them into a conveyor belt that carries them to a holding bin. When the harvester reaches the end of the row the holding bin is emptied into a gondola which then transports the grapes to the winery to be loaded into the press.
Mechanical harvesters are a great option for larger vineyards that lay on flat level ground. They can very quickly harvest an entire block of fruit and get it to the winery and loaded into the press in a fraction of the time it would take to hand harvest the same block.
At Suhru we machine harvest our Pinot Grigio. The vineyard where it is grown is well suited to a mechanical harvester and it allows our early ripening Pinot Grigio berries to arrive at the winery very quickly after being harvested which is important for machine harvested fruit as the berries are often split open during the harvesting process.
Hand harvesting, while extremely labor intensive, allows our vineyard team to examine the fruit as they move through the vineyard, selecting only the best grape clusters and discarding the bruised, damaged or underripe fruit. A skilled hand harvester can pick between one and one and a half tons of grapes in a 10 hour day, which is the equivalent of 800-1,200 bottles of wine or 66-100 cases.
While more expensive, laborious, and time consuming there are a number of reasons to hand harvest your grapes:
- Allows for more precision. The grapes are better protected during harvesting greatly reducing the possibility of oxidation due to damaged skins.
- Winemaking Style. For a number of styles including méthode champenoise and some styles of white wine we whole cluster press, meaning that the entire cluster, stems, seeds, skins and all are loaded into the press and discarded as one once the juice has been pressed out.
- Fruit quality. When you machine harvest all the berries are mixed in however when you hand harvest as the vineyard crew is moving from cluster to cluster they can pick out any berries damaged by birds or any that have not fully developed ensuring that only the best berries make it to the winery.
We would like to take a moment to applaud the hard working men and women who cultivate and care for our grape vines throughout the year. THANK YOU for all that you do, we could not do it without you!
Late August brings warm days, soon to be cooler nights, and an abundance of fresh produce! One of our favorite summer traditions is harvesting basil from the garden to make homemade pesto. With my garden currently overflowing, this recipe has been on regular rotation.
The key to a good pesto (or a good wine for that matter) is good ingredients. The better the ingredients, the better the end result. You can easily make pesto year round but garden or farm stand fresh basil makes the best pesto if you ask me! Throughout the month of August I try to make as much pesto as possible, filling my freezer with jars of pesto to last the entirety of the year.
I like to think of pesto as a building block. It is such a delicious staple to start a meal and works wonderfully in hot or cold pasta dishes, with sausage, as a veggie dip, spread on a sandwich, over roasted veggies and more! It's a very simple summer option but is a great starting point to build a wide variety of meals. With an abundance of fresh, home grown tomatoes and basil overflowing from our gardens, we at Suhru are sharing our go to summer pesto recipe served atop gnocchi and paired with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
I can't believe August is already here! In case you missed it, be sure to checkout the lastest on our Blog including an Update from Owner Susan Hearn detailing what she's been up to these past few weeks.
As you may have heard, we have had an exciting few weeks with a number of wonderful announcements including that our 2020 Teroldego won Best in Class at the 2022 New York Wine Classic while our 2021 Rosé recieved Best in Class at the 2022 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
And in case you missed it, we have a new Cooking with Suhru post! Fish tacos are a summer staple and we have a quick and easy mid week recipe to share! Our Assistant Winemaker, Brad, loves to fish, particularly for fluke. One of his favorite summer recipes is Blackened Fish Tacos, pair with a bottle of Dry Riesling and you can't go wrong!
It's been a busy July at Suhru but Summer isn't over yet and we have lots of great events planned at the Tasting House, so be sure to make a reservation and mark your calendars!
August Special Events:
- 8/4: Thursday Happy Hour & Live Music by Julia King, 4-7pm
- 8/4: Art Show with Melissa Hyatt, 4-7pm
- 8/6: Lobster Roll Sliders at the Tasting House
- 8/7: Sundays at Suhru: Lobster Roll Sliders & Live Music from 1-4pm
- 8/11: Thursday Happy Hour & Live Music by Rob Europe, 4-7pm
- 8/13: Lobster Roll Sliders at the Tasting House
- 8/14: Sundays at Suhru: Lobster Roll Sliders & Live Music from 1-4pm
- 8/18: Thursday Happy Hour & Live Music by Robin Sidor, 4-7pm
- 8/20: Lobster Roll Sliders at the Tasting House
- 8/21: Sundays at Suhru: Lobster Roll Sliders & Live Music from 1-4pm
- 8/25: Thursday Happy Hour & Live Music by Dorian Consort (Classical Trio), 4-7pm
- 8/27: Lobster Roll Sliders at the Tasting House
- 8/28: Sundays at Suhru: Lobster Roll Sliders at the Tasting House
- 8/29: Wine Dinner at the Marshall in Manhattan, 7:30pm
We are currently hard at work planning a number of great wine events this Fall and Winter. If you have a suggestion on future events or a wine topic you'd like to see at Suhru Wines, let us know! Thank you again for your continued support and happy Summer!