2019 Living Roots Wine & Co. “Pétillant Naturel” Cayuga White, Finger Lakes, New York State (11.8% Alcohol, Residual Sugar… not very much) LCBO New York Destination Collection $35.60 (750ml bottle)

I often jest with a fellow wine critic about our shared dislike of the “Pét Nat” category, and just how many simple terrible wines are sold under that banner, as some people seemingly can’t see the wood for the trees zeitgeist.

This, however, is something a little different that really piqued my interest when going through a tasting last night.

This bottling is crafted from the hardy-as-nails Cayuga White variety, a cross between the hybrids Schuyler and Seyval Blanc. In cooler climes such as the Finger Lakes it can occasionally shed its vitis labrusca backstory, and play like a pretty damn decent Riesling clone, something not lost upon winemakers Sebastian and Colleen Hardy here. Playing to these strengths they have created a Pét Nat that I actually found extremely enjoyable, and that’s saying something.

Pouring a slightly hazy dark yellow/golden in the glass, the carbonation is most pleasing without too much bubble aggression. Aromatically, there’s a whole load of brown apple action, but honestly, for me, it’s more like a tempting tarte tatin rather than an old apple core left out by our kid, an oxidative issue I often have with this category. It also doesn’t overdo the autolytic element, another “fault” I commonly find in this particular style of wine.

In the mouth I get so many of those Riesling cues… this is deliciously bone dry and saline/minerally with a bloody great searing streak of acidity ripping right through the citrus/grapefruit core; all in all, it’s pretty thrilling on the palate, especially as I love Riesling (or Riesling-like) sparklers. 

With this much acidity it’s much better alongside some food, and shows itself to be amazingly versatile in the pairing department. It worked a treat with some hot smoked salmon last night.

Now, if only I could convince my fellow wine critic…

4 apples out of 5
(Four apples out of a possible five)


Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll be picking up another bottle of that.