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Long Island Wine

Macari Vineyards 2015 Horse Cabernet Franc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

This weekend, Macari Vineyards will celebrate the release of our wine of the week: Macari Vineyards 2015 “Horses” Sparkling Cabernet Franc.

It’s the second release of one of a wine that quickly developed a rabid following last year. The 2013 edition was so popular with wine professionals and consumers alike that it sold out in months.

There is little doubt that it’s a unique, and uniquely delicious wine. Or that it was a bit of a surprise hit. One of the biggest in 2016, I think.

For one, it’s 100 percent cabernet franc, a grape you just don’t see used in traditional sparkling wine production much. But in the summer of 2013 Gabriella Macari tasted a sparkling cabernet franc from the Loire Valley in France. She thought it was delicious and met with winemaker Kelly Koch and her brother Joey Macari, who is also the vineyard manager, “to discuss possibilities.”

The result is a wine that fits into one of the latest trendy wine categories: glou-glou, a bit of onomatopoeia for fresh, refreshing wines that are intended for drinking, often quite a bit of, right now. The way they glug-glug down your gullet lead to the term, which originated in France.  

Though this a traditional methode champenoise sparkling wine — with secondary fermentation (which is what makes it fizzy) taking place inside the bottle — it’s packaged under a crown cap (think a beer bottle), though that wasn’t on purpose.

“We never intended to release the wine under crown cap,” Macari said, “But after tasting it with friends and wine buyers, orders started coming in for cases — just as it was!”

That’s because it’s an absolute pleasure to drink. Fruity and fun, dominated by wild strawberry and cranberry flavors, there is a light herbal edge (that you’d expect from cabernet franc). I can’t tell you how it evolves in the glass or how it tastes on the second day. It never lasts that long in my house. It’s not a wine to ponder and lament. Chill it well, pop it open (carefully and maybe over a sink) and glou-glou.

And at $24 a bottle ($19 if you’re a wine club member) it’s priced for just that sort of enjoyment.

It will be released this weekend in the winery’s Mattituck tasting room. And, to celebrate Valentine’s Day they’ll be offering a cheese, chocolate and chips pairing with both of the estate’s pink sparkling wines for $25 per person. Reservations are recommended, so email [email protected] or call (631) 298-0100 to reserve your seat. I’ll be there, so feel free to buy me a glass!