Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Blanc de Blancs

92 points

36 months on the lees — the spent yeast cells and other sediment — gives this a richness and roundness that combines with bright fruit flavors of mixed apples and sweet citrus, background notes of pie crust bring a nice bit of complexity to a wine that is quite dry and focused, showing beautifully bright acidity.

Producer: Paumanok Vineyards
Region: North Fork of Long Island (New York)
Blend: 100% chardonnay
Price: $45

One of the most amazing things about wine is that there is always something new, different and surprising. Sometimes even right in your own backyard.

The family owned and operated Paumanok Vineyards has earned its reputation as one of the East Coast’s premier producers through consistent quality and a desire to make even better wines each and every vintage. That’s become a bit more rare in an industry where wine is often deemed good enough to sell to tourists who are more interested in a wine-adjacent experience than they are the wine itself.

When I visit Paumanok, I know I’m going to enjoy what I taste. That’s part of the reason I go there.

And yet second-generation winemaker Kareem Massoud still surprised me a little on a recent visit with this Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Blanc de Blancs ($45). Made entirely from estate-grown chardonnay, it’s one of the classiest, most-delicious sparkling wines I’ve tasted this year.

“The inspiration for this wine is Champagne,” says Massoud. “Many of the best Champagne, the ‘Tête de cuvée,’ spend a minimum of 36 months en tirage, aging on their lees in the bottle. We have done the same with our Blanc de Blancs, which also spends a minimum of 36 months en tirage, sometimes closer to 40 months.”

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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