2017 Oyster River ‘Morphos’ Pétillant Naturel Rosé
Region: Maine < USA
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; hand harvested, no added SO2; 11% ABV; 200 cases
Winemaker: Brian Smith
We featured 3 vintages of Brian Smith’s killer Pét’Nat of native American grapes Seyval Blanc + Cayoga, from the ultimate US cold climate, Maine. This is his rosé Pét’Nat of Merlot from Long Island. Like the white version, this cloudy, fizzy wine is extremely charming, low in alcohol (11%) and full of life. Brian lets this wine ferment slowly in his naturally cool cellar over several months. His sums up his hands-off ethos: “I believe my role in the winemaking process to be more nature’s assistant than winemaker. We add nothing and take nothing away from the natural chemistry of the fruit.” Made using the ancestral method for bubbly, Morphos is bottled before fermentation is complete, trapping the CO2 that gives it a natural fizz, and the spent yeast, making the raspberry pink hue softly hazy, like the tail end of a sunset with wildfire smoke in the air. Like now. Brutal. But the wine is delicious, dry and savory with a hint of green spice (duh, Merlot). Sort of like watermelon kombucha with the tiniest hit of jalapeno.