The North’s undisputed Bubble King, Larry Mawby has been an intractable part of the local oeno-scene since the late 70s, and today his effervescent empire has thousands of fans sipping 16 unique cuvées. This month we caught up with Larry to talk new directions, sparkling vignoles and a roll-your-own bubble party.

What new limited releases are the L. Mawby sycophants sipping these days?
Right now we’re excited about Sand Painting #5. It’s a brut bottle-fermented blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and vignoles from the 2011 vintage. This is the first time we’ve offered Sand Painting outside our wine club.

We’re familiar with pinot noir and
 chardonnay but what does vignoles bring to bubbly?
Actually our Crémant Classic is 100 percent vignoles. I think the grape has more varietal character both aromatically and flavor-wise than chardonnay or pinot noir. It lends an exotic note when blended, but on its own shows soft fruit like peach and apricot, even grapefruit notes when it’s really young. Vignoles is high in acidity, but it also has enough texture and vinosity to produce a broad, crisp finish.

As an international wine savant, do you know of any new sparkling wine horizons we should pay attention to?
Well there are always cool small growers in the Champagne region to discover, but other wines that people should start to appreciate are sparklings from Tazmania and New Zealand. There’s really good stuff being done there.

Bubbly in the winter: how do you like
 to roll?
One thing that I think is fun in the winter is to use sparkling wine as the idea for a social occasion. Invite a bunch of friends and task them each with bringing a bottle of bubbly and an appetizer to pass. Almost everything foodwise will play well with sparkling wine, and you can even experiment with floating sorbet in the glass.

Larry Mawby, tells us how his brut rosé bubbly entitled “Sex” originally got its name in this MyNorth video.

This Q&A with Larry Mawby is featured in the January 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Get your copy here!

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Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski