A dramatic makeover of the lowly blueberry previewed in Portland last week as Michael Terrien uncorked his first batch of wild Maine blueberry wine — Bluet. The handsome bottle debuted at Eventide Oyster Co. on an idle Tuesday. At the informal tasting, restaurant and bar owners snapped it up like brown butter lobster rolls in steamed buns.
Terrien, a well-known California winemaker grew up in Cape Elizabeth and creates wines for vineyards such as Obsidian Ridge. In a bid to return home, he dreamed up a blueberry wine from Maine that tastes refined. Not sweet, cutesy or off-kilter.
“The fermentation unlocks the essence of the blueberry,” said Terrien, who predicts the low-alcohol wine will be the talked-about quaff on the peninsula this summer. “The aromas really pop.”
The owners from Central Provisions, the team from Aurora Provisions, the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk and anyone else who wanted first crack at this bone-dry, crisp blueberry sparkler were impressed. Chris Gould, chef/owner of Central Provisions nodded approvingly.
Though fulfilling as an aperitif, Bluet adds another option for the local-friendly barkeep. Eventide bar director John R. Myers added orange liqueur to give Bluet (which clocks in a 6 percent alcohol) a boost.
“It’s very food friendly. Not syrupy or sweet,” said Myers. “There is a fruit presence, which is fun in cocktails.”
Fermented in the methode champenoise tradition, and named for a Henry David Thoreau-ism, Bluet is an upscale made-in-Maine spirt that’s bound to give the state’s wine scene a needed nudge. Distributed primarily in Maine this summer, Bluet will be very popular with visitors. So if you want to sample this etherial pie, snap to it. Bluet will be available in late-June in limited supply.