One of the most amazing things about wine is that there is always something new, different and surprising. Sometimes even right in your own backyard.
The family owned and operated Paumanok Vineyards has earned its reputation as one of the East Coast’s premier producers through consistent quality and a desire to make even better wines each and every vintage. That’s become a bit more rare in an industry where wine is often deemed good enough to sell to tourists who are more interested in a wine-adjacent experience than they are the wine itself.
When I visit Paumanok, I know I’m going to enjoy what I taste. That’s part of the reason I go there.
And yet second-generation winemaker Kareem Massoud still surprised me a little on a recent visit with this week’s Wine of the Week, Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Blanc de Blancs ($45).
Made entirely from estate-grown chardonnay, it’s one of the classiest, most-delicious sparkling wines I’ve tasted this year.
“The inspiration for this wine is Champagne,” says Massoud. “Many of the best Champagne, the ‘Tête de cuvée,’ spend a minimum of 36 months en tirage, aging on their lees in the bottle. We have done the same with our Blanc de Blancs, which also spends a minimum of 36 months en tirage, sometimes closer to 40 months.”
That time on the lees — the spent yeast cells and other sediment — gives the wine a richness and roundness that combines with bright fruit flavors of mixed apples and sweet citrus, background notes of pie crust bring a nice bit of complexity to a wine that is quite dry and focused, showing beautifully bright acidity.
My wife and I enjoyed a bottle of this wine as we toasted one another on our anniversary, but Massoud likes it with the local bounty as well.
“This bubbly is great with all the fruits of the sea such as oysters, clams, scallops as well as caviar, sea urchin, shrimp, crab and lobster,” he said. “It also goes well with various cheeses, hors d’oeuvres and poultry.”
This beautiful sparkling wine is available in the Paumanok tasting room for $45.