With Southold Farm + Cellars 2014 “Counting Stars” ($28) — a sparkling red wine made from 100% petit verdot grapes — co-owner and winemaker Regan Meador has created what might be the most food-versatile wine available on Long Island today. That’s not a declaration that I take lightly, either.
A lot of people thought he was a little crazy (maybe he is) for making sparkling wine from petit verdot — a late-ripening variety most often used to add color, tannin and acid to red wine blends — but ultimately, it’s petit verdot’s character that makes this wine such a great complement to so many dishes.
This is a bold, in-your-face sort of red sparkler. It bursts with aromas of blackberries and blueberries with distinct notes of black pepper, lilac and an earthy edge. The fresh, mouth-filling palate, bright acidity, chewy tannins and moderate carbonation contribute serious structure and a foundation for a mélange of black and blue fruits, spice, flowers and meaty minerality.
Over the summer, I enjoyed several well-chilled bottles with burgers and other grilled fare — everything from summer vegetables to chicken slathered in sweet-smoky barbecue sauce. I’ve cracked open a bottle (it’s closed with a crown cap, most often seen on beer bottles) with exceedingly mediocre takeout Szechuan beef. It was great with any and all of those dishes.
Just last Sunday, I opened my last bottle with a very traditional beef stew and I think it was even better – particularly once it warmed to almost room temperature. Its acid-tannin-bubbles combination sliced through the richness of the stew while the peppery spice complemented the slow-cooked beef perfectly.
There was a glass or so left in the bottle after dinner and I just left it on the table, open. The next morning, at room temperature and nearly flat, it had developed an intriguingly bloody, roasted beet quality.
Southold Farm + Cellar’s tasting room is closed until February, but there is still a little bit of this wine left. we may never see another sparkling petit verdot once it’s gone.
Producer: Southold Farm + Cellar
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Vineyard: The Farrm Vineyard
Production: 115 cases
This wine was also my Northforker.com Wine of the Week