Long Island sparkling wine has long been an under-appreciated category. I tend to think that it’s one of the better ways to utilize all of the chardonnay that is planted here. Better than that bludgeoning it with oak barrels, right?
I’m kidding – sort of – about the barrels but I rarely joke about sparkling wine. We drink it all of the time and so should you. Don’t tuck a bottle into your refrigerator for that special occasion. Open a bottle on any day that ends in “Y” and make it a special occasion. Celebrate getting dinner on the table for your family. Celebrate surviving another evening doing Common Core math homework. Celebrate waking up that morning.
And have it with food. Bubbly is one of the most food-friendly styles going. Drink more sparkling wine. Just do it. You’ll be glad that you did.
That brings us to this week’s northforker “wine of the week” – Lieb Cellars 2013 Reserve Sparkling Rose ($35).
Made with 66% chardonnay and 33% pinot noir and using Methode Champenoise – the method used in the Champagne region of France – this is a bright, focused sparkler that really excels at the dinner table.
Delicately colored – more copper than pink, really – its bubbles are fine and persistent. Aromas of white cherry and cranberry are accented by subtle yeasty, nutty notes.
The first sip packs a citrusy, focused punch – a laser beam of acidity that will cut through fatty or rich foods. Nearly bone dry, any residual sugar ends up bringing weight rather than actual sweetness. Red fruits – mostly cherry and cranberry again – dominate with citrus notes and a faint hint of blanched almond.
It’s not the most complex sparkling wine in the world, but it’s satisfying and delicious – it would be at home with a platter of varied cheeses, with simply prepared Peconic Bay scallops (they are in season now!) or with fried chicken.
500 cases were made and it sells for $35 at the winery’s tasting room.