Tom and Cynthia Rosicki opened Sparkling Pointe on the North Fork of Long Island in 2009. As they began to see the growth of the area on an upward trajectory, they acted quickly, purchasing the land in 2003 and then planting grapes the following year. In order to bring their winery to life and showcase beautiful sparkling wines, Sparkling Pointe hired award-winning winemaker and French native Gilles Martin for his accomplished scientific background and true passion for production and winemaking. Today, Martin lives on the North Fork and spends his days creating the classic refinements of an old world tradition of champagne production with new world techniques.
Swig contributor Kristen Oliveri, who has based herself in the North Fork for the warmer months of the year, sits down with Martin to learn more about some highly anticipated newly released varietals, as well as what Martin believes to be the perfect champagne and food pairing combination.
Q: How did you decide to be a winemaker?
A: Growing up in France, food and wine is the fabric of our culture. I’ve always had an interest and passion for great food and wine, so it was only natural for me to follow that passion.
Q: Why did the founders of the winery decide to solely focus on planting classic champagne grape varietals?
A: I knew that we wanted to make great sparkling wines and to do that we must follow the same steps as Champagne, France and that starts with the classic varietals.
Q: What’s special about winemaking on the North Fork of Long Island?
A: I believe that the North Fork is the greatest location on the East Coast to make wine. The terroir, made up of loamy, sandy soil and its capacity for superior drainage, along with the salt air of our maritime climate that makes it best suited for our varietals.
Q: What are some of the more recent varietals you’ve rolled out?
A: The new vintage of the NV Cuvée Carnaval Rouge, made of 79% Merlot, is an ode to the classic and most widely planted varietal of Long Island: Merlot. We’ve also produced Sparkling Pointe’s Méthode Traditionelle interpretation of the classic grape.
Q: What is your favorite champagne and food pairings?
A: Lobster and our Brut Seduction.
Q: What is up next for Sparkling Pointe?
A: We are waiting and hoping for a great harvest coming in the next few weeks to begin making our 2016 vintages. We will continue to develop new products and produce more wine. We are excited for the upcoming release of our 2013 Blanc de Noir.