Every time we visit Sparkling Pointe we go home convinced that we should drink more champagne—or, to be precise, more sparkling wines, since only wines from the Champagne region of France can actually be called champagne. Sparkling Pointe only makes sparkling wines, a focus that disappointed a couple who wandered in as we were enjoying our tasting and left, despite the best efforts of our very knowledgeable and passionate server to persuade them to stay. “Here,” she offered, “try a little sample on me of two very different sparkling wines,” pouring them tastes of the Brut and the Carnaval. They should have stayed.
The tasting room is a bright, airy space, decorated with large crystal chandeliers and paintings of Brazilian scenes (because the owners like the culture of Brazil, we’ve been told). Outside there are more seats on a shaded patio overlooking the vineyard. We could have opted for table service inside or outside, but, since there is room at the bar, we decide to stay there, which gives us a chance to observe the somewhat frenetic actions of the serving staff, as they quickly move from task to task. “Like a beehive!” observes my husband. Our attentive server not only (noticing our interest) gives us more information about each wine than I can cover in my notes, she also gives us an extra taste, about which more later.
The menu offers four tastes for $17, each one in a fresh champagne flute. There is also an extensive menu of snacks—almost all of them of New York State origin, including cheeses and charcuterie, chips and olives, and Tate’s cookies—which is good, since they don’t allow outside food. We also noted quite a few people ordering whole bottles for a table, plus snacks. The shop off to one side is full of gift items, also featuring many New York State grown or made products, as well as the sparkling t-shirts many of the servers wear.
- NV Brut $29
This is their least expensive and most popular wine, a non-vintage blend, meaning they strive for consistency year to year. This one is made from 38% chardonnay, 38% pinot noir, and 24% reserve wine—which means they use some of the wine they reserve from each vintage in order to make up the blend. It ages for two years on the lees. The aroma is toasty and yeasty, the wine itself very pleasant, with tiny bubbles that burst on the tongue. The chard probably accounts for the lemony taste, more like a touch of lemon peel than fruit. The wine is nicely dry, but could have more fruit flavors. I think it would be better as an accompaniment for food than by itself. Pretty label.
- 2010 Blanc de Blancs $42
We clear our palate with our own individual bowl of round crackers, a nice idea—almost ruined by a man who comes to the bar to order a bottle for his table and helps himself to a handful. An observant server quickly dumps the bowl and gives us a fresh one. Nice! This one is a 100% chardonnay, aged 3 ½ years on the lees, with a slightly funky green apple smell. This has tastes of lime and mineral and fruit, and, though not complex, is quite good. We recently had the Lieb Blanc de Blanc, made from pinot blanc grapes, which tasted very different. We prefer this one.
- 2006 Brut Seduction $72
Now we’re getting serious. They only make the Brut Seduction in a good year for pinot noir, which is not every year on Long Island, as this is 54% pinot noir and 46% chardonnay blend. This one has been aged eight years, and it shows. Wow. The aroma is yeasty and toasty again, but we also smell some bitter almond. Mineral, fruit, layers of flavor—we’ve had excellent vintage champagnes (yes, from France) and this would give some of them a run for their money. Our server thinks it needs another six months in the bottle, which would make it perfect for New Year’s Eve. The tasting menu says it has a “super organoleptic profile”—which is a fancy way of saying it appeals to all the senses. Yes indeed.
- 2005 Brut Seduction
Not for sale, not on the menu, but we get a taste. The server has noted our seriousness, and my note taking, and we have had a great discussion of sparkling wines. She is so enthusiastic about them that she actually traveled to Champagne, France. The ’05 earned scores in the 90s, and we can see why. We smell a more complex aroma, with fruit and spice, perhaps fennel, and the taste…I wrote OMG. This could definitely stand up to a French vintage champagne.
- NV Carnaval Cuvée Rouge $34
From the sublime to…not our taste. This is described as a demi-sec red sparkling wine, made from 65% merlot, 23% pinot noir, and 12% chardonnay, having spent five days on the merlot skins, which accounts for the pretty garnet color. The aroma is black raspberry, the taste is candy, or raspberry syrup mixed with seltzer. Unlike the others, which are made in the méthode Champenoise, this is made in the méthode traditionelle. If you like sweet, you can try this. I would skip it!
Reasons to visit: you like bubbles; the only winery that only makes sparkling wines; an airy pleasant setting with table or bar service; lots of interesting snacks; smart, attentive servers; nice little gift shop; the ’06 Brut Seduction.