Bedell Cellars 2016 Gewurztraminer Pétillant-Naturel

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Bedell Cellars’ new Tap Room at Corey Creek is a decidedly more casual, fun space than the mothership. The wines are all poured from taps (rather than bottle) and growlers available for fill and take home. For those of you who might be interested in such things (I’m not — at all), there are even a couple frosé machines. 

You’ll find some Bedell mainstays that are available in the main tasting room in Cutchogue — things like the sauvignon blanc, viognier and rosé — but there are also a few surprises that make the Tap Room a bit of a playground for winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich.

“I’m having a lot of fun with it and able to drill down a few more wine styles and showcase them on their own,” he told me in an email.

There’s a dry hard cider made by Olsen-Harbich, as well as a cabernet sauvignon where he employed carbonic maceration, a winemaking technique during which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide-rich environment prior to crushing. Both are worth checking out, but my favorite of these outliers is Bedell Cellars 2016 Gewürztraminer Pétillant Naturel, or pét-nat for short.

Made by bottling a still-fermenting wine to capture carbon dioxide and lightly sparkle it, pét-nat is popular these days, and with good reason. They are forward, fun wines that are best enjoyed without thinking too hard.

But why gewürztraminer for his pét-nat?

“I thought the intense aromatics of the variety would be fun to see in a pét-nat. Inspired by the cremants and other rustic sparklers I’ve tasted from Alsace over the years,” Olsen-Harbich told me.

There are more these experiments coming, including a petit verdot later this summer and an albariño next spring. These are typically blending components in the Bedell portfolio, but according to Olsen-Harbich, “I thought it interesting to show them on their own.”

Bedell Cellars 2016 Gewurztraminer Pétillant-Naturel

87 points

100% Gewurztraminer. Just off-dry and fruity with tropical aromas and flavors layered with notes of lychee and candied ginger. Floral notes are a bit less overt than you might expect. Exotic and juicy, it is refreshing and just plain fun to drink.

AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Retail Price: $30 (for a 750ml growler)

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