La Garagista Ci Confonde White Pet Nat - mercurial, engaging and delicious
Winemakers Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber fashion their white Pét Nat from Brianna, a grape developed for cold climates by American grape breeder extraordinaire Elmer Swenson. La Garagista farms it organically and biodynamically in northern Vermont, and shortly after it begins fermenting, the must is moved into bottle to complete its alchemy. The wine is released un-sulfured and un-disgorged.
Its cloudy, pale amber body is animated by tiny, languorous bubbles that issue a scent of honey, of meadow in late summer: mead, beeswax, ripe pear, hay, chamomile, and grassy field flowers. The texture is faintly beery, given its modest acidity and light alcohol, but there is fruit, too, a watery sluice of pale apricots and pear nectar, and the finish is curiously savory-sour. As you work down the bottle the lees concentration intensifies, deepening the flavor and robing the wine’s sunny day in savory dusk.