May 24, 2022
There are certain people who make every get-together feel like a celebration. So where better to take that couple than to Sparkling Pointe, where the sparkling wines make every sip feel like a party. In addition, one of our guests is a wine aficionado who has been to many wineries, so I wanted to take him somewhere unusual. I made a reservation that was clearly superfluous, since we had the entire terrace to ourselves, but I wanted to be sure it was open, since we went on a Tuesday when many wineries, stores, and restaurants are closed (at least until after Memorial Day).
We settled ourselves on the flagstone terrace, commenting on how pretty the view out across the vines was. Natalia, our lively and intelligent server, quickly brought each of us a welcoming flute of the 2017 Brut and explained the menu. The bubbly wines—which can’t be called champagne because they are not made in the Champagne region of France—are made using the méthode champenoise, a labor-intensive process. Some are dry, and some are sweet, with the Carnaval labels more on the sweet side. Since one of our guests prefers sweeter wines, we decided that they would share the Flagship flight ($20, for three), which features two of the Carnaval wines, and we would share the Prestige Flight ($30, for three), which has drier sparklers.
Since it was lunchtime, we also ordered a cheese board, which included three cheeses, a little dish of jam, a tiny jar of honey, and some Taralli crackers and sliced baguette. It was plenty for the four of us. (Outside food is not allowed.) As we sipped and munched, we talked and laughed and told stories, and I sometimes forgot to take notes, we were having such a good time.
Tastes are brought to your table one at a time, so the bubbles don’t dissipate, and Natalia quickly noticed that it was taking us longer than average to consume each one, so she allowed extra time between samples. Then, I guess because there was no one else there, or because we were clearly serious about tasting, or because of my notebook, she brought each couple one additional taste. As a result, I could theoretically tell you all about nine of their wines—but, as I said, we were having so much fun being together, my notes are a bit sketchy. I list the wines more or less as we had them, not separated by who had which.
- 2017 Brut $31
Everyone gets a flute of this “welcome toast,” a very nice gesture. It is made from a blend of 54% chardonnay, 33% pinot noir, and 13% pinot meunier. You might note that two of those grapes are red, yet the wine is pale yellow. That’s because the color in the wine comes from contact with the grape skins—and Sparkling Pointe does have some rosés and even a red sparkler—but this wine has no skin contact. These three grape varieties, by the way, are the same ones traditionally used in the Champagne region of France to make champagne. Anyway, we like it. It is sophisticated and dry, and tastes very like a traditional champagne, though one guest notes it has fewer bubbles.
- 2017 Blanc de Blancs $48
As you might guess from the name, this is made from all white grapes—100% chardonnay—and has that zippy citrusy taste you might expect from a chard.
- 2016 Blanc de Noirs $75
In contrast, this is made only from red grapes, 65% pinot noir and 35% pinot meunier. This has a more complex fruity taste, maybe raspberry, and has a nice aroma of yeast, with a touch of something funky. Dry.
- NV Cuvée Carnaval Rosé $36
If you examine the Sparkling Pointe menu, you will note that in addition to the usual descriptions of the wines, each wine also has the additional information of when it was disgorged and what the “dosage” of sugar is. The sugar number is easy to decipher, since the higher the number the sweeter the taste. This one has a dosage of 14 g/l, while the previous wine’s is 6. The disgorgement date is the date when the yeast and sediment in the bottle are removed, ending the second fermentation, and giving you a good idea of exactly how old a wine is. Since this is a non-vintage wine (NV), you might like to have that information. A light pink blend of 50% pinot noir, 41% chardonnay, and 9% merlot, this is the bubbly equivalent of a still rosé, slightly sweet, with some strawberry taste.
- 2019 Topaz Imperial Brut Rosé $44
I was concerned, looking at the pink color, that this blend of 50% chardonnay, 34% pinot noir, and 26% pinot meunier would be too sweet for my taste, but in fact I quite liked it. It has the strawberry taste one expects in a rosé, but is more complex, with some lemon and bread notes.
- NV Cuvée Carnaval Blanc $30
The sweet wine lover in the group declared this to be her favorite, while her companion compared it to a prosecco.
- 2011 Brut Seduction $70
The usually very well-informed Natalia couldn’t tell me why this is called seduction (though I’ll bet she’ll know next time someone asks), but we speculated it could be because it is so good it seduces you. This is the oldest vintage they have, though it was disgorged in 2020, so it aged for quite a long time. It is complex and interesting, with layers of flavor, including some of the buttery flavor you get in an oaked chardonnay. It has almost no bubbles. 54% chardonnay, 46% pinot noir.
- NV Carnaval Rouge $36
This is unusual—a red sparkling wine. It is almost startling to look at. It smells like cranberry juice, and could almost be mistaken for a Cosmo, but, according to our friend, has almost no flavor. “Tastes like wet paper, like a spitball,” he opines. On the other hand, it is an “extra,” not included in the tasting, so no complaints. The menu says it tastes like bubblegum!
- 2016 Reserve Blanc de Blancs $68
We are very happy with our extra, and in fact, it is my favorite of the day. This is dry, lemony, with some warm pear tastes. Very nice.
Reasons to visit: time to celebrate, as they only have sparkling wines, which most people consider as party wines; lovely terrace outside, and elegant room inside, with thoughtful table service; the 2017 Brut, the Blanc de Blancs, and the Blanc de Blancs Reserve, to my taste; the Carnaval Blanc if you like sweeter wine (the term “Carnaval” refers to the owners’ love of Brazil, which can also be seen in some of the gift shop offerings).