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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sparkling Pointe - Long Island Sparkling Wine

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a tasting room here on Long Island that I’ve never visited before, at Sparkling Pointe in Southold.  Sparkling Pointe is the only exclusive sparkling wine vineyard in New York.  The winery is absolutely beautiful and I am sure is a lovely venue for events.  The visit to the winery was especially fun for me as I got to discuss their wines at length with Dylan, a member of Sparkling Pointe’s tasting room staff, and I must say she certainly is an asset to their winery.

Sparkling Pointe in Southold on Long Island's North Fork

Sparkling Pointe’s wines are produced in the traditional Methode Champenoise, and all of their wines are brut, and are made with the same grape types used in the Champagne region (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier).  I expected the wines to be good, and they didn’t disappoint - in fact, they exceeded my expectations, and I came home with a bottle of the wine I enjoyed the most.

The first wine I tasted was the 2006 Brut, Sparkling Pointe’s best-selling wine, made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  The wine is pale in color with a light bouquet of fresh green apple and pear, and the flavors reflect the same fresh fruit and crispness.  In fact, the wine has a green fruit aura about it.  After allowing the wine to reach all parts of my palate, I noticed the bubbles are particularly fine.  This wine reminded me of the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut, particularly in texture.  The finesse and delicate character of this wine indicate that it would make an ideal aperitif or pair very nicely with hors d'oeuvres and light cheeses.
The second wine was the 2007 Topaz Imperial, made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  This wine is uniquely beautiful in the glass - it is a very light bronzed pink, almost salmon color, I’ve actually never seen a wine quite that color.  And the wine bears resemblance to the Brut, both in aroma and taste - crisp, with green apple and pear characteristics, except there are also hints of red and pink fruit tartness on the palate, and the Topaz is perhaps more acidic than the Brut.  Also, the bubbles in the Topaz appeared a bit larger than in the Brut, and in terms of texture, this wine reminded me of the Louis Roederer Brut Premier.  For its more diverse flavors and slightly bolder texture, I would like to try this wine with a dish with a bit more substance, perhaps a seafood dish or a light poultry dish.
The next wine was the 2004 Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay - and this wine absolutely blew me away.  If blindfolded, I would probably guess this sparkling wine is from the Champagne region.  Gold in color and attractive in the glass, the wine was quite different from the first two - it had a more complex, much deeper bouquet, reflecting earthier characteristics, as well as baked apple and bread fresh from the oven.  I even remarked to Dylan that the wine had an aroma of warm apple pie, including that drop of lemon juice that goes into the pie.  The flavor matched the apple pie characteristics, plus notes of nut, and perhaps a bit of cheese rind.  The texture is lovely, the bubbles are very fine, and there is a bit of an elegant creaminess to the wine.  Although the wine is quite crisp and clean, it has a big presence and a lengthy finish.  For lovers of Moet & Chandon, this is your wine.  I would prefer to have this wine on its own when experiencing its many layers, but if pairing it, I would choose either a good quality brie served at room temperature, or slightly chilled fresh shellfish.

2004 Sparkling Pointe Blanc de Blancs at the tasting room

2004 Sparkling Pointe Blanc de Blancs, the bottle I brought home

The final wine I tasted was the 2001 Brut Seduction, made up of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  This wine is exquisite, it has an autumn gold color, with aromas of fresh bread, nut, and exotic fruits and flowers.  The flavors include nut and baked bread and a bit less fruit.  The bubbles are extremely fine, and the finish has some length, although not quite as long as the Blanc de Blancs.  I would like to try this wine most likely with hors d'oeuvres or on its own as an aperitif, it is quite lovely and a bit lighter than its color would indicate.

2001 Sparkling Pointe Brut Seduction

Overall, I was very happy to enjoy each of the four wines I tasted and I would go for a bottle of any of them again.  My favorite was the 2004 Blanc de Blancs, and that was the wine I chose to bring home, and it now occupies the most recent spot in my wine rack.  So if you’re spending some time on Long Island, I highly recommend a trip to the North Fork and a visit to the tasting room at Sparkling Pointe.

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