I don’t drink sparkling wine – whether called Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Cremant, or otherwise – nearly enough. It’s not that I “save” them for special occasions as much as it is that I just don’t reach for them very often – for one reason or another – and that’s a shame. They are about as food-friendly as wine can be, pairing well with everything short of hearty beef preparations. Eric Asimov of the New York Times even recommends them with pizza.
Sparkling wine is the most romantic of libations and it certainly can make any occasion special – even just getting through another workday.
Me, I like bubbly as an aperitif as our dinner party guests arrive (or just while my wife and I cook) and with most any non-spicy fried foods, including the fried green tomatoes my wife made last weekend.
It doesn’t get much attention, but there is an abundance of local sparkling wine that is generally quite good. Right now though, it’s tough to do much better than Sparkling Pointe, Long Island’s only winery focused solely on sparkling wine.
Owned by Tom and Cynthia Rosicki, Sparkling Pointe is one of the must-stop destinations I suggest to my readers or out-of-town wine industry folk who know me as “the Long Island wine guy.” Frenchman Gilles Martin, a veteran North Fork winemaker who has also worked in the Champagne region of France, makes the wines.
And after tasting the wines for a few years now, I can say that they have never been better. The current lineup is just outstanding and I’d happily serve any of them to even my geekiest Champagne-loving friends.
Three wines in particular stood out when I tasted through the lineup recently.
Sparkling Pointe 2009 Topaz Imperial ($37) is a precious coppery pink in the glass – thus the name – and delivers effusive aromas of red cherries, wild strawberries, cranberries, a bit of lemony citrus and a distinct wet river rock note. I look for and desire that minerality in bubbly.
Though not priced for every day sipping, Sparkling Pointe 2008 Blanc de Noirs ($75) is a stunning, classically styled wine that shows off the region’s potential for bubbly. Made with pinot noir and pinot meunier, it offers a layered nose of red and white cherries, toasted almonds, citrus blossom and sea breeze. Medium-light in body, it is fruity at first – again showing those dueling cherries – but then turns a bit earthy, before showing toasted nuts and lemon curd flavors. Dry, balanced and uber-fresh, the last line of my notes simply says “Delicious.”
If you like your sparkling wine a bit richer and on the funkier side of things, then Sparkling Pointe 2002 Brut Seduction ($60) is for you. It spent eight years on the lees – the spent yeast cells – before being disgorged, the process that kicks off the in-bottle fermentation and produces the sparkle in sparkling wine. That extended lees time brings an earthy, nutty, biscuit-y edge to sparkling wine. In this case, aromas of lemon, kiwi and melon are accented by notes of toasted brioche, dried leaves, and dried fig. Fuller bodied than the others, this is a rich, mouth-filling sparkler with primary flavors of lemon and star fruit, followed by roasted nuts, smoky vanilla, grilled brioche and a savory, umami edge. Both elegant and impactful, it’s quite an achievement.
Sparkling Pointe, 39750 County Road 48, Southold. 631-765-0200, www.sparklingpointe.com