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Lenz 2016 Cuvée is February’s northforker Wine Club pick. | Photography by David Benthal

The Long Island wine trail is filled with amazing flavors, aromas and surprises. In this new series, we take a deep dive into a specific wine with an expert from a local winery.

The Lenz Winery was established in 1978 and was among the first Long Island wineries. Jerol Bailey, director of sales for Lenz, spoke to northforker about its newly released 2016 Cuvée, a sparkling wine perfect for the romance of Valentine’s Day.

The style: The wine is produced from 100% pinot noir grapes and made in the methode traditionelle style, the way they do it in France. Our style in-house is extra brut, which is extra-dry. 

Flavor profile: It’s bursting with flavors of red and white cherries with hints of green apple. It’s a fantastic wine. It’s not meant just for celebrations but is a great food pairing wine, too. Our sparkling wines are also bright-flavored, and this particular vintage has hints of lime zest. 

Pairs with: I would do a nice roasted chicken with haricot verts. It has a nice, bright acidity and really does well with those savory dishes.

Ageing process: It goes through a second fermentation in the bottle and is on the lees (leftover yeast) for a minimum of five years, and then we disgorge it and release it to the public.

Ideal serving temp: Because it’s a sparkling wine, we do recommend chilling this wine down in the refrigerator. I don’t have a specific temperature but I do recommend serving it chilled.

On the nose: You get aromas of orange blossoms and honey and I would even say buttered toast. 

To hold or not to hold: There are two connoisseurs out there — people that want all the bubbles and brightness of the sparkling wine, when we release it it’s ready to go and you could hold onto it for at least a year. But you have some wine club members that really like to have the fruit dissipate a little bit and bring out some of those toastier notes, so that would be holding it for three years. But when we release this to the public, we feel it’s ready to go and should be consumed within the year.

Best time to drink: Methode traditionelle has to be a minimum of three years on the lees, but our house style is about five years, so I would say a good sparkling wine has to be a minimum of three years. We have five to six on average. 

Lenz 2016 Cuvée can be purchased for $42/per bottle at The Lenz Winery, 38355 Main Road (Route 25), Peconic