Since it’s muscadine season, it’s an ideal time to look at the state’s only indigenous grape, the muscadine. We spoke with Botanist and Barrel’s sommelier + Pommelier Amie Fields on what to look for when it comes to muscadine wines, plus where to get your hands on some that are deliciously balanced.
“Lots of folks think they don’t like muscadine wines because they don’t have a good experience with it, “ Amie says. “Everybody thinks sweet and floral. The flavor is very powerful, especially when it’s not fermented all the way to dry. When it’s fermented to dry, it’s kind of like a riesling — there are fruity notes, but it’s not overpowering, and there’s no residual sugar.”
“While 95% of muscadine production in NC takes place in the Eastern part of the state, we are producing some here in WNC as well. For our process, we are really focused on NC terroir, or the ways the natural environment affects a wine’s distinct flavor + personality. We produce three to four blends that combine muscadine and cider.”
If you want to try it for yourself, there are several options. “We’re currently offering a muscadine spritz in a can,” says Amie. “We also make a blend called “Pink is a Feeling,” which is aged with its skins on to make a beautiful, bright pink drink. And we donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research.” There’s also “From NC with Love,” a piquette that’s like a spritz or seltzer with a delightful bubbly finish.
And in the future, you can expect even more muscadine production from Botanist and Barrel. “We’re gonna try and make all muscadine wines this year,” Amie says.