A varietal rosé Frontenac Gris, a French hybrid grape bred in Minnesota for sweetness, acidity, and cold hardiness. Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber of La Garagista farm their fruit organically and biodynamically in northern Vermont, and this vine is always pliant in their hands. Here, the must completes fermentation in bottle to beget bubbles and build complexity, and like La Garagista’s white pét nat, is released un-disgorged, unfiltered, and un-sulfured.
The robe is a lovely deep strawberry red—surprising given this grape’s purplish-gray skin tone, which suggests it underwent a long maceration. The wine proves a strawberry decoction: a savory, faintly leesy mélange of berries and straw. As is characteristic of many of this winery’s reds, it has a pronounced rosiness, both petals and hips.
Winemaker Deirdre Heekin with Frontenac Gris at her home estate in Barnard, Vt.
But this wine is less complicated than the white pét nat, the mousse a bit more active and gassy, and it hasn’t the same deep savoriness and nutty oxidative qualities. This suggests very different pairings; younger, fresher, and brighter versus older, wiser, and burnished. But the wine’s fey red color and berry-accented acidity make it more refreshing, too, and it feels juicy and clarifying despite the cloudiness of its lees. Overcast, but with a chance of sun showers.
Pair it with fresh and young cheeses, especially bloomy-rind goat, and charcuterie.
11% abv | $25