Sparkling Pointe: Sparkling Day May 24, 2019

https://www.sparklingpointe.com/

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Finally a beautiful day!

Finally! After weeks of unseasonably chilly rainy weather, a beautiful day arrived. Following a pleasant stroll in Greenport to check out the new shops and restaurants (We’ll be back.), we headed to Sparkling Pointe, the sparkling-wines-only vineyard in Southold.

Over the past few years we’ve noted a consistent pattern of improvement in their wines, so we were interested to see how they have progressed. Since they have a French winemaker (Gilles Martin) and use the méthode champenoise, it is no surprise to discover that their wines have a definite French orientation, though a number of their options are sweetened to American tastes. What is a surprise is the Brazilian-Carnival-themed tasting room and wine labels, which, according to the website, stem from the owners’ love of Brazil. I suppose the festive nature of sparkling wines also entered into the choice.

A sign at the entrance cautions against outside food or drinks, and allows only service animals, but they do have a good menu of snacks. We ordered two cheeses, which came with two sleeves of crackers, and took home leftovers. They also have table service, and our server was very competent and well-informed, happily expounding on wines and winemaking when we asked any questions.

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Our server explaining dosage.

On looking over the set menu, of four wines for $20, we noted that two of the options were described as rather sweet (Sugar cookie? Really?), so with our server’s help we chose four—and then a fifth—wine from the tasting list, totaling $30. That’s a bit pricey, but on the other hand we spent about an hour on their lovely terrace overlooking the grape vines, enjoying the pleasant breeze and sunshine, sipping champagne and munching on two very tasty cheeses (Hudson Valley camembert and Coach Farms Hudson Truffle). Not too shabby.

A few other notes: the tastes come in proper champagne flutes, very classy; a small gift shop features North Fork-made food items plus Brazilian-Carnival-themed décor; though we enjoyed several of the wines, they share the North Fork issue of being a bit too expensive compared to other options for sparkling wines, such as Italian Proseccos or Spanish Cavas; they charge an extra $15 over the per bottle cost if you want to order a bottle of wine to drink on the premises, though the fee is waived for wine club members.

1. 2016 Brut $30 ($4 per taste)
We started with the driest of their wines, a blend of 53% chardonnay, 31% pinot noir, and 16% pinot meunier. The smell is lovely, with floral notes plus roasted pear, and some depth and interest. I compared the taste to fresh apple juice with lemon, but my tasting buddy disagreed. However, we both agreed that it was a very pleasant, fairly dry sparkler, with nice little bubbles.

2. 2014 Blanc de Blancs $44 ($6 per taste)
Our server was quite enthusiastic about this one, naming it as a “staff favorite,” and I can see why. My husband described it as “very champagne-y,” which I first laughed at and then decided was rather apt. Though the aroma is only faintly yeasty—like walking along across the street from a bakery—the taste is crisp and clean and refreshing, with a nice balance between sweet and dry. Very drinkable on its own, and also good with our cheeses.

3. 2014 Reserve Blanc de Blancs $68 ($8 per taste)
This is another lovely choice, a delicious, well-balanced sparkler, only very slightly sweet, with aroma of honeysuckle and pear, plus a taste that combined Meyer lemon with apple pie and freshly baked bread. Our server pointed out the word “Séduction” on the label, and noted that they use that to indicate their higher end wines. I’d gladly drink this any time—if someone else bought the bottle!

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If you look carefully, you can tell this has a faint tinge of pink.

4. Blanc de Noirs $68 ($8 per taste)
A very faint tinge of pink is the result of this wine spending a little time on the skins of the 50/50 combination of pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes. They don’t market this as a rosé, noted our server, which makes sense, since if you wanted a rosé you’d be disappointed, but we were pleased. Though the aroma has some notes of something slightly burnt, or chemical, the taste is pleasantly dry, with just a touch of strawberry.

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Just for fun, I used a filter on this photo.

5. NV (non-vintage) Cuvée Carneval Blanc $30 ($4 per taste)
We were not ready to leave yet, and were still enjoying the day and our cheese, so we decided to try one more taste. The Carneval line seems to include the wines they feel will most appeal to a mass audience, and I can see why. We dubbed this one a “crowd pleaser,” which I had already written in my notes when my husband called it that. A blend of 47% chardonnay, 37% white merlot, and 16% pinot noir, it also has a “liquor de dosage” of gewürztraminer, the only grape they use that is not grown on site. I wondered if they got that from One Woman, which is quite nearby, but for once our server couldn’t answer a question. He did happily describe the process of dosage, however. Though this is not a sparkler I would choose to drink, it would be quite acceptable in a toast. The aroma is of yeast and a bit of lemon, and the taste includes some minerality and a bit of lychee flavor from the gewürztraminer.

Photos of the gift shop, including Carneval-themed décor:

Reasons to visit:  beautiful setting, especially if you can sit outdoors on the terrace; tasty sparkling wines; table service that is efficient and friendly; nice menu of snacks; the Reserve Blanc de Blancs in particular, though we enjoyed all of the wines we sampled (though in the past we have had some of their sweeter wines which are just not for us).

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We enjoyed our time on the lovely terrace, looking out over the vineyard.

Sparkling Pointe: For a Celebratory Mood January 14, 2017

http://www.sparklingpointe.com/

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After we came home from running errands, my husband discovered that he couldn’t find his house keys (which also meant a variety of other important keys).  We retraced our steps, becoming gloomier and gloomier.  Then…he found them!  Feeling in a celebratory mood, we decided to head to the only-sparkling-wines vineyard, Sparkling Pointe.  (Well, we don’t need much encouragment to opt for a sparkling wine.)

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Everyone there seemed to be in a celebratory mood.

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Plenty of room for more people.

The airy, modern room was filled with groups at tables, enjoying bottles of wine and various snacks they had bought at the winery (outside snacks are not allowed, but they have a nice list of cheeses and charcuterie).  The place was a bit noisy, but not unpleasantly so, and the staff behind the bar was friendly and accommodating, especially when they took note of me taking notes.  The tasting menu offers four tastes for $20.  We noticed that the menu included Cuvee Carnaval, a rosé sparkling wine which we ended up dumping last time, as it was much too sweet for us.  So I asked if it was possible to substitute the Blanc de Blanc for the Carnaval.  At first she said no, but then reconsidered and said yes.  Whew.

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The menu.

With our tasting, she included a bottle of Fiji water, which was useful for cleansing our palates between tastes.  A note about the term “sparkling wines”:  the only wines which can legally be called “champagne” are those grown in the Champagne region of France.  However, these wines are made using the same method—méthode champenoise—as in France, and are made to taste similar to French champagnes.

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Nice bubbles!

  1. 2014 Brut          $29

A blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, this is a pleasant, crisp drink.  The aroma is of lemon peel and stone or mineral, and the taste of the tiny bubbles as they burst on the tongue is of pear and citrus.  Very nice.

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  1. 2009 Brut Magnum        $75 for 1.5 liters

This one is aged in the bottle—and it’s a big bottle!—for quite a while, spending four years “sur lies” (which means the wine is aged on the lees, the bits of grapes that form a sediment), giving it a more complex and interesting taste.  It is a blend of 59% chardonnay, 31% pinot noir, 5% pinot meunier, and 5% reserve.  The aroma is warmly yeasty, with a whiff of something chemical.  The first sip seems somewhat chemical to us, too, but as it sits in the glass that dissipates and we find it quite good.  This is a sparkler you could compare to French champagnes and it wouldn’t do badly.  By the way, we get a new glass with each taste, a nice idea.

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You get a nice sized pour here.

  1. 2012 Blanc de Blanc       $44

Okay, so the Blanc de Blanc is not on the tasting menu, but we’re getting it instead of the Carnaval.  Good thing too, as it is our favorite of the day.  Made of 100% chardonnay grapes, it was also ages on the lees.  It has an aroma of honey, maybe thyme honey, and crisp small bubbles.  My tasting buddy says it “blooms in the mouth.”  I say it would make a good sipping sparkler, with tastes of citrus and just a touch of sweetness.

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  1. 2007 Brut Seduction       $72

This really reminds me of a French champagne, with an aroma of baking bread and almonds.  The taste also has hints of almonds, as well a red grapefruit. The bubbles are tiny.  Our server informs us that this spends eight years on the lees, and is a 50/50 blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.  Really lovely.  Too bad it is so expensive, but the method of making these wines is labor intensive and requires lots of years of investment, so the cost is understandable.

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They don’t allow outside food, but do have a nice menu–including chocolates.

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Reasons to visit:  you feel celebratory (whether because you found your keys or for some other reason); you like sparkling wines; you feel like doing some shopping in the well-stocked boutique; in the summer you can sit outside and sip champagne…I mean sparkling wine.

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Brazilian carnival masks on display in the boutique–the owners have a connection to Brazil (hence the wine named Carnaval).

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This is the first winery I’ve ever seen with its own perfume!

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