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The Convivial Table gets down and dirty
Summertime Sparklers

By Josyane Colwell,
EXECUTIVE CHEF Le Moulin Event Planning & Catering

The Hudson Valley wineries are setting out some new wines this season with good cause to celebrate. When a few sparkling wines from local producers arrived on my doorstep for tasting, I jumped at the chance to uncork one of my favorite types of wines for summertime entertaining.

Sparkling wines are made in many different parts of the world, and are known by just as many different names, each having a varying degree of sweetness. They are generally made with grapes other than the classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals which are the backbone of Champagne, from the region where I grew up. In France, you may find a touch of Pinot Meunier as well.

So, I was curious to try the Hudson Valley’s sparkling wines, and to taste the local terroir of the North River cuvees. North River is a new partnership with the co-owner of Whitecliff Winery, and both wines are estate bottled from their own Hudson River Region grapes:

North River Cuvee Méthode Champenoise (Hudson River) 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, this deep, golden-colored cuvee is reminiscent of a beautiful sunset. A “growers champagne” with a springy nose and nicesized bubbles that soften subtly in the glass.

North River Rosé (Hudson River) A companion to the Cuvee, this Rosé is as pink as the Méthode Champenoise is golden. Flavorful with fresh raspberry taste. A good alternative to a chilled glass of Chardonnay, and perfect for a summer wedding. Its Pinot Noir grapes come through in both flavor and color.

I also tasted two bottles produced in the Charmat style from Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery, which has the longest history of sparkling wine production in the region:

Brotherhood Sparkling Chardonnay (NY) is very fresh with a golden color and a lot of sparkle, making it a “happy” wine. With a robust flavor, it has a nice balance of fruitiness. A perfect companion to a firm, white grilled fish, like cod or halibut.

Brotherhood New York Sparkling Wine (NY) proudly proclaims its Empire State roots with a silhouette of the Manhattan skyline on its label. This very light, very pale sparkler is a good accompaniment to fresh fruit or dessert, with slightly less effervescence than the Sparkling Chardonnay.

Hudson Valley Wine magazine Fall 2015 issue

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