According to Gilles Martin, winemaker at Sparkling Pointe in Southold, the winery’s line of “Carnaval” wines was originally created “to address the specific customer market for sweet sparkling wines.” The first wine, Carnaval Blanc, was a Long Island version of Champagne Demi-Sec. It was noticeably sweet on the palate and, frankly, not to my liking.
I wasn’t the target audience for that wine and Martin makes plenty of drier sparkling wines that absolutely are to my liking.
“The Carnaval Rose fulfilled a demand for rose sparkling wines, [where] customer demand increased very fast the last few years,” Martin told me in an email. “And is a slightly sweeter wine than our prestigious Topaz imperial.”
At the same time, an important shift has happened with the entire Carnaval line (there is also a Rouge—a red sparkler): “As the wines became more popular, these wines [earned] the attention of our regular customers. The sugar level was therefore lowered to a more food-friendly style,” said Martin.
As Martin said, this week’s “Long Island By the Bottle,” Sparkling Pointe 2017 Carnaval Rose ($36) is decidedly sweeter than the stellar Topaz Imperial, but no one would classify it as a sweet sparkling wine.
A blend predominantly of two classic Champagne grapes—46% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay—it also contains 17% Merlot, making it quite a unique wine for Long Island, or anywhere, really. Martin thinks that it brings a red currant note to the wine.
Regardless of what grapes are in it, this is a fresh, berry-driven sparkling wine that will appeal to a wide array of drinkers with its strawberry and red cherry fruit and subtle floral qualities. That little bit of residual sugar is balanced beautifully by fresh acidity.Martin recommends barbecue or grilled foods with this one. I had it with an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie recently and it was delicious.