Welcome to Long Island by the Bottle. Every week, we’ll showcase a wine that we’re enjoying and think you’ll dig too—with some of the story behind the wine and food pairing suggestions, too.
Despite many vintages of delicious examples, sparkling wine remains a bit under the radar as a category here on Long Island. People talk Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and rosé well before bubbly comes to mind.
Maybe that’s because sparkling wine is still a “special occasion” wine to many people.
As far as classic, Champagne-style sparkling wine goes, I tend to group wines into two categories—a richer, yeastier style and a focused, piercing style.
This week’s “By the Bottle,” Macari Vineyards 2014 “Cuvee Katherine” Blanc de Blanc falls into the former and that’s by design. Winemaker Kelly Urbanik Koch uses 100% Chardonnay for this wine and told me in an email that “[she is] looking for the sparkling to flesh out over time, not to be too weighty at the beginning.”
The Chardonnay for this wine is always among the first picked at Macari and it often comes from the same section of the vineyard, which Koch likes for its flavor profile and acidity.
One great thing about making sparkling wine is that it can usually be made in vintages that may not be as well-suited to red wines or even some white wines. Winemakers want grapes that aren’t quite as ripe to ensure that the resultant wine has plenty of acidity. That wasn’t a worry in 2014 though.
“2014 was a great vintage for us across the board, with our sparkling being no exception. Acid levels were nice and high, giving us a great backbone for our sparkling base,” says Koch.
I tend to prefer the leaner, focused style of sparkling wine, so this wine really impressed me when I tasted it at the winery recently. It bursts with apple and flavors with only the most subtle yeasty, brioche character. A laser beam of acidity running up the center really stretches the finish out and it turns just a bit saline, which makes this a great wine for with foods.
I asked Koch what she likes to eat with this wine.
“I love sparkling and think it pairs with almost everything—including nothing, just enjoying it on its own,” she says. “Other favorites would be brie and baguette with some honey, or pasta carbonara. It also pairs really well with strawberry shortcake.”
For more Long Island by the Bottle, read previous installments in our archives here.