This week marks only the second time the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) has been featured here at Birds and Booze. Given its cosmopolitan range, we would hope to see this spectacular fish-eating raptor gracing bottles of wine and beer more often, but for all the infrequency of its presence in the world of booze, at least it always presents a striking image when it does appear. A few years ago, we were treated to an especially charming, almost serene portrait of this bird on a can of beer that remains one of the better depictions of any bird we’ve seen at Birds and Booze, in my opinion. This week’s featured wine, however – the 2020 Juggernaut Pinot Noir produced by Bogle Vineyards – dispenses with such pleasant imagery, giving us instead an Osprey depicted in all its fearsome glory, terrifyingly exaggerated to almost comic book proportions, with lurid, bloodshot eyes and an ominous incarnadine light cast on the plumage of this black-and-white raptor.

Ospreys have been back at their nest sites here in upstate New York for a few weeks now. Luckily for them, our waterways are completely free of ice by now, but spring hasn’t fully taken hold yet, with near-freezing lows expected in these last few days of April. So, I’m certainly game to enjoy a rich, warming red wine while waiting for the winds to blow from the south again and bring another burst of migrants, who are beginning to seem a bit behind schedule this year.

The Pinot Noir grapes used in Juggernaut are harvested in California’s Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, an area famed for production of this varietal thanks to its fog-shrouded hills and well-draining, loamy soils. Juggernaut offers classic Pinot Noir aromas of violet, eucalyptus, and pencil shavings, along with accents of cola, cherry jam, and sugar cookies. This deep magenta wine is full of robust, red fruit flavors, a subtle spiciness, oaky accents, and plenty of firm but silky tannins.

Good birding and happy drinking!

Bogle Vineyards: Juggernaut Pinot Noir (2020)

Three out of five feathers (Good)

Written by Tristan Lowery
Tristan Lowery’s busy homebrewing schedule took a hit in 2010 when he discovered birding and found that scanning the waterfowl at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on a frigid midwinter morning could be just as much fun as standing over a steaming mash tun in a sweltering Queens apartment in August. While his growing commitment to birding has undeniably diminished his brewing output of ales - fine and otherwise - Tristan finds that birding still affords him plenty of excuses to at least keep drinking beer, especially when celebrating life birds, lamenting unsuccessful chases, and capping off an exhausting Big Day or Christmas Bird Count. After leaving behind a hectic cooking career in New York City’s fine-dining scene, Tristan moved inland to the New York's Capital District, where the relative abundance of Pileated Woodpeckers almost makes up for the fact that he’s only seen a single Sanderling in Albany County ever. When he isn’t birding his local patches in urban Albany, Tristan works in energy regulation for the State of New York.