From the Finger Lakes to Long Island, there are many styles of sparkling wines to explore in the Empire State. It should be no surprise that delicious examples made from Riesling are popping up, as the grape has proven to make excellent still versions in the Finger Lakes. The bright fruit and racy acidity of the variety lends well to savory sekt-style examples or boisterous, fruit-forward Charmat-method and forced-carbonated bottles.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even the occasional Pinot Meunier are also yielding quality bubbly offerings, with notable examples from Long Island and the Finger Lakes. These deliver toasty, savory traditional-method wines that often cost less than a typical bottle of Champagne. There are even some forced-carbonated bottles made from these varieties that are fun and fresh.
The state’s history with commercially viable hybrid grape varieties goes back to the mid-1800s, namely with the Catawba and Isabella varieties. Today, many wineries are seeing the value in hybrid grapes again and making some easy, gluggable sparkling wines from varieties like Cayuga and Vincent.
For whatever style you like, here are 14 recently reviewed New York bubbly wines.
Damiani 2013 Brut Méthode Champenoise (Finger Lakes); $38, 92 points. This stunning traditional-method sparkling wine is made from 63% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Meunier. Rich aromas of Fino Sherry-dipped almonds, seared lemon and ripe yellow apple dazzle on the nose. The savory palate carries a salted, blanched almond note lifted by a squeeze of lemon and framed by a kiss of toast. Editors’ Choice. –Alexander Peartree
Lenz 2005 Méthode Champenoise Cuvée (North Fork of Long Island); $60, 92 points. Made entirely from Pinot Noir, this rich sparkler dazzles in aromas of Sherry-dipped almonds, lemon custard and toasted brioche. It’s creamy, rounded and full in feel on the palate, with a deft mix of ripe lemon, nut and toast flavors that show tension and depth. A savory, salty note extends on the lingering finish. –A.P.
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Blanc de Noirs Méthode Champenoise Sparkling (Finger Lakes); $40, 91 points. This blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier offers bright, well-defined aromas of lemon peel and yellow apple wrapped in a warm, toasted brioche accent. The palate boasts a persistent perlage and a delicate tension that elongates the tense citrus and apple finish. –A.P.
Sparkling Pointe 2017 Topaz Impérial Méthode Champenoise Sparkling (North Fork of Long Island); $44, 91 points. This is a deliciously savory, mouthwatering sparkling rosé made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Warm, toasty brioche and sea salt meld with red apple peel and white currant, with a creamy mousse guiding these flavors along to a long, saline-infused finish. –A.P.
Anthony Road 2016 Sparkling Riesling (Finger Lakes); $36, 90 points. This traditional-method sparkling Riesling offers savory aromas of bread crust and blanched almond alongside seared lemon and fresh peach. It’s rounded in feel on the palate, with expansive flavors that echo the nose. It shows lift, intensity and depth, with a cinched-up, dry finish that leaves you coming back for more. –A.P.
Lieb 2017 Estate Sparkling Rosé (North Fork of Long Island); $30, 90 points. A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, this sparkling wine starts off with aromas of button mushroom, raspberry and a hint of cream. The palate is driven by tart red fruit, yet it is filled out nicely by a creamy mousse and a savory blanched almond tone. –A.P.
Sheldrake Point 2019 Beta Series Bubbles Riesling (Finger Lakes); $20, 90 points. This forced-carbonated Riesling starts with rich aromas of apple, pear and pineapple on the nose. The frothy palate explodes in flavors of ripe orchard and tropical fruit, with pithy citrus tones providing balance. While fruity and forward, it’s a well-balanced bubbly that would liven up any party. –A.P.
Bedell 2016 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling (North Fork of Long Island); $60, 89 points. This is a savory, nutty Chardonnay-based sparkler that offers rich aromas and flavors of toasted almond, bread crust, seared lemon and baked apple lightly dusted in warm spices. It’s gentle and creamy on the palate, with a salty, nutty finish. Drink soon for best enjoyment. –A.P.
Buttonwood Grove 2020 Pét-Nat Riesling (Finger Lakes); $19, 88 points. Hazy citron in the glass, this offers an explosion of fruity aromas: peach, apple, pear, lemon and a bit of banana. The palate is gently bubbly, with savory yeast and mixed fruit tones holding court. It’s tasty for its short burst of intense, fruity energy. –A.P.
Empire Estate NV Blanc de Blancs Riesling (Finger Lakes); $19, 88 points. This Charmat-method sparkling Riesling offers bright aromas of yellow apple and nectarine on the nose. It’s zesty and frothy on the palate, with brisk pome and stone fruit flavors shot through with crisp acidity. It’s a tasty, fresh sparkling wine akin to Prosecco in style and flavor profile. –A.P.
Stony Lonesome 2019 Sec Carbonated Chardonnay (Finger Lakes); $20, 88 points. This carbonated Chardonnay is well-balanced in juiced pear and apple flavors, with a gentle perlage and tangy citrus lifting it all up. There’s good expansion to all the fruit flavors, making this a tasty straightforward bubbly. –A.P.
Weis 2019 Perle Sparkling (Finger Lakes); $19, 88 points. Aromas of pear, melon, grapefruit and white blossoms carry the nose of this sparkling blend. Foamy bubbles fill the palate with juicy flavors of orange and melon, resolving well on the finish with a hint of sweetness, but pleasingly so. It’s easy to drink this party-friendly wine. –A.P.
Wölffer 2017 Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Méthode Traditionelle Rosé (Long Island); $40, 88 points. This blend of 59% Chardonnay and 41% Pinot Noir starts off with ripe aromas of yellow apple, pear and white plum, with a flower blossom tone lingering in the background. Tiny bubbles form a creamy mousse on the palate, where more rich fruit flavors are framed in a lightly astringent grip. It’s a full-bodied, rounded traditional-method sparkler. –A.P.
Glenora NV Traditional Method Sparkling Rosé (Finger Lakes); $16, 87 points. This sparkling rosé made from Cayuga White and Vincent is juicy and fruity, with flavors of cherry and blackberry juice. It’s semidry in style yet nicely balanced by bright acidity and zesty bubbles. –A.P.