2014 Oyster River Winegrowers ‘Morphos’ Pétillant Naturel
Region: Maine < USA
Grapes: Seyval Blanc, Cayoga
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming, white clay and limestone soil with a lot of flint, 50 year-old vines, hand harvested, no added SO2; 300 cases
Winemaker: Brian Smith
Who knew they made wine, really good wine, in Maine? This yeasty, cloudy Pét’Nat from Maine-native Brian Smith is extremely charming, low in alcohol (10% – breakfast juice!) and full of life. Brian, who makes cider with local apples as well as wine with native American grapes, 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, the Morphos is bottled before fermentation is complete, trapping the CO2 that gives it a natural fizz, and the spent yeast, which makes it a bit cloudy. Refreshing, tart like an apple, with a zingy acidity that cuts through fat, this wine is amazing with anything fried, fresh oysters, or soft cheeses. Tall pours mandatory. You need this at your next party.