2017 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; 10% ABV; 300 cases
Winemaker: Brian Smith
NEW VINTAGE ALERT: 2017 IS HERE, AND WE GOT EVERY CASE (A MERE 4) THAT MADE IT TO CALI! We featured the two previous vintages of this kick-ass bubbly, and this is our favorite one yet – a touch more floral and peachy and bright. A quick review: this cloudy Pét’Nat from Maine-native Brian Smith is extremely charming, low in alcohol (10%) 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, Morphos is bottled before fermentation is complete, trapping the CO2 that gives it a natural fizz, and the spent yeast, which makes 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.