Sparkling Pointe: A Gem at The North Fork of Long Island

 

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Entrance

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Tasting House

Choosing the right winery/vineyard in Long Island to visit for a school project is not an
easy task to do, specially if one is not familiar with the place. After countless hours of researching, I still could not find the right place. I was left with one last option‚Äēnetworking. I found out that one of my coworkers¬†is from¬†Long Island and is a wine fanatic. I also learned about a vineyard/winery which was highly recommended by our Chef de Cuisine to go to. So we found ourselves in Sparkling Pointe Winery and¬†Vineyards at the North Fork of Long Island on a sunny Monday afternoon last October 26, 2015.

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Vineyard

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The only grape I found in the vineyard

We were welcomed by Laura Trunz, their Regional Sales Manager at their Tasting House. She seated us in their large outdoor patio area adjacent to their vineyard and gave us an overview¬†about their establishment and why it’s unique from other vineyards/wineries in the wine region. They are the only winery specializing exclusively in sparkling wine production in Southold, Long Island. The sparklers they produce are served in top-rated¬†Michelin starred restaurants such as¬†Eleven Madison Park(3-stars), Aquavit(2-stars), and Gramercy Tavern(1-star). A¬†cool to moderate¬†maritime climate is tempered by two bodies of water, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, which provides long, warm summers with cooling breezes and moderate rainfall. Unique glacial soils of sandy loam provide excellent drainage. Their vineyard farms 40 acres of vines planted only with the classic champagne grape varietals:¬†Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.¬†Combined plantings consist of three clones of Dijon Chardonnay, one clone of Pinot Menuier, and 7 clones of Pinot Noir – four from Burgundy and three from Champagne. The training system is Vertical Shoot Positioning for all sites with 1250 plants per acre for high density farming with less yield per plant. The grapes are hand-harvested typically between the last week of August and the first week of September at 18 – 19 brix for exclusively Sparkling Wine production.They utilize a¬†drip irrigation system which reduces the amount of water used by localizing the water supply to the root of the plant.¬†They have¬†been certified Sustainable by the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing Organization since 2014.

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Production Facilities inside the Winery

It was unfortunate to know that they harvested their grapes early. Their vines already
turned from green to yellow. Grapes were nowhere to be seen, but¬†I was fortunate enough to find a grape while taking pictures of their vineyard. Ms. Trunz then escorted us to their winery to show us their production facilities. It was like reading Exploring Wine all over again, but this time‚Äēreality! She showed us all the facilities they used for their wine production with a step-by-step explanation of how their wines are¬†made. “The winery features a bladder press for gentle whole cluster pressing of the grapes, a tank room of 30,000 gallons for temperature controlled fermentations, 3,000 bottle-per-hour bottling line, 2,000 bottle gyro pallet riddling machine, fully automated disgorging line, and a well-equipped laboratory delivering daily wine analysis. A reserve room holds 1,700 gallons of base wines aged in French oak and stored in stainless steel drums. They take pride on their¬†State of the Art Net-Zero Wine Storage Warehouse with geothermal wells and solar photovoltaic array roofing.¬† It¬†has been designated as the 1st Greenlogic certified Zero Energy Warehouse in New York State (Net Zero means the amount of energy used is equal to the amount of energy produced on site).” Our misfortune continued because wine production just ended when we arrived, so we didn’t have the opportunity to see their facilities in action.

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NV Brut labeled with “Methode Champenoise”

After our¬†winery tour, we went back to the tasting house¬†and were seated by Ms. Trunz. We had a wine tasting free of charge on four of their popular sparklers. We tasted¬†an NV Brut (38% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir, 24% Reserve)¬†, a 2006 Brut Seduction (54% Pinot Noir, 46% Chardonnay), NV¬†Cuv√©e Carnaval Rouge¬†(65% Merlot, 38% Pinot Noir, 23% Chardonnay), and lastly a CV¬†Cuv√©e¬†Carnaval Blanc (68% Pinot Noir, 26% Chardonnay, 6% Reserve). She was very knowledgeable about the wines we tasted and was able to provide tasting notes as well as food pairing for each wine. While tasting the wines, I asked to take pictures of the bottles. To my dismay, I noticed that both of the¬†Cuv√©e were labeled “Methode Traditionelle“, while the Bruts were labeled “Methode Champenoise“. As a wine student, I’ve learned that “Methode Champenoise” can only be used in wines produced in Champagne, France. I then raised a question regarding what I’ve observed, and she quickly replied that there are no laws regarding the use of that labeling here in New York.

Such an unforgettable experience in a short period of time.¬†The taste of those wines still linger in my mouth. Although it’s a struggle to figure out the taste and smell of different wines, never have I imagined that learning about them would be of my interest. Sparkling Pointe is indeed a unique gem in the North Fork of Long Island. Who doesn’t love Sparkling Wines?

References:
Teague, L. (2015, May 21). Bubbling Up on Long Island’s North Fork. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/bubbling-up-on-long-islands-north-fork-1432255716
Winery. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.sparklingpointe.com

 

Retail Beverage Shop Analysis/Comparison

Store Front

Store Front

After countless hours of researching the best¬†wine stores to visit in New York City, I finally decided to¬†go to Astor Wines and Spirits which is just a block away from where I work. It’s located in 399 Lafayette St. in between 4th St. and Astor Pl. I already had a certain expectation in mind before I even got there just from reading great reviews about the place; but what I didn’t know was that this place was even better than what I expected it to be. Once I entered the store, I was immediately blown away by the massive space and the broad¬†selection of wines and other alcoholic beverages displayed.

Front half of the store: old world wine and sparkling wines

Front half of the store: old world wine and sparkling wines

Red and White Displays

Red and White Displays

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The¬†store was packed with customers carrying shopping baskets filled with wine bottles. They had a 20% off all Sparkling wines sale that day which is probably why a lot of customers were shopping. I started to look around to¬†check the wines they were selling since all the employees were busy talking to customers. I’ve noticed that they had a display for “great wines under $12” (I was tempted to buy one).IMG_0714[1] All¬†the wines they sell had short descriptions about their region and their taste which were really informative. They also had some facts about wine regions and even sold wine reference books on the displays.

As I was looking at the wines, one of their employees approached me and asked if I needed help. I then replied: “Hello Sir, I’m currently a¬†wine student¬†at NYCCT, and I would really appreciate ¬†if you can tell me about the wines and spirits you sell ¬†and maybe give me a quick tour of your store.” He gladly said “Sure, where do you want to start?” with a smile on his face.

After a series of questions and a quick tour of the whole store, I found out that they¬†arranged their wines geographically per bin in the front half of their store which were predominantly “old world wines” (Mostly French, Italian, and Spanish Wine regions). They had their french and american sparkling wine display right next to each other because of their 20% off sale. The sparkling wines were arranged according to their bubbles as well. The wines of the new world ¬†are located at the other half of the store. He didn’t specify if they arranged their wines based on how they were fermented ( oak barrel/ stainless steel tanks, etc) The wines of the new world are arranged according to their grape variety ( a display of wines from different new world countries with he same grape variety). Other alcoholic beverages¬†such as whisky, cognac, sherry, Madeira, rare wines and spirits, are located at

 

the back of the store. They even had Korean liquor like soju. They also boast almost 200 of the finest sakes which are stored on the far right side of the store; ¬†a 57 degree, 70 percent humidity cool room for delicate, rare, and organic wines, a tasting bar for free wine tastings, a library of wine reference books, and lastly a 2nd floor space for wine-related classes and wine tasting events. They have¬†everything a wine store needs–great selection of wines and spirits from around the world, knowledgeable and friendly staff who would take their time to help their customers find the right wine, well-labeled bins that are very informative, etc. They’re easily one of the best if not the best wine store in New York City.

I went to Warehouse Wines and Spirits which was¬†just a block away. It’s located in¬†735 Broadway between¬†Astor Pl & Waverly Pl. The place was also huge, but with a more “warehouse” ¬†atmosphere. It wasn’t as great as Astor Wine and spirits, but what makes this store different is that it boasts a wide selection of wines and spirits at affordable/cheap prices which is one of the best in Manhattan. They also arranged their wines¬†geographically. They didn’t have any descriptions in their wines regarding their taste and it was really confusing at some point. The huge turn off here was that their staff didn’t seem to know¬†what they were talking about, but nevertheless, they still tried to answer all my questions.