Bryan Flewelling moved from Boston to Maine in 2006, and started a five-year stint at the White Barn Inn Restaurant in Kennebunkport. In 2013, he moved up to Portland to join the team at Hugo’s, one of the three restaurants now belonging to Big Tree Hospitality. Today, Flewelling is the wine director for the company. Here he talks about the wines that sell well at Eventide Oyster Co., a modern take on the New England oyster bar.
I wouldn’t describe Eventide’s food as linear, but there is a Japanese simplicity to many dishes. Pét-nats go very well with that because they tend to be simple, crisp and fresh. They’re not blustery, get-in-the-way wines. And people here are interested in pét-nats. Portland is a beer town, point blank. It specializes more in small-scale beers and ciders. People like semi-sour, slightly funky, cloudy beer and wine. Pét-nats tend to be very much like that.
The Oyster River Winegrowers Morphos Pét-Nat [a 50/50 blend of Cayuga and Seyval Blanc from Warren, ME] did so well this year because it’s a pét-nat, and it’s local, fresh, a bit sour—and it’s only $25 per bottle.
What to eat tonight?
I would order oysters, for damn sure. I would also probably order some form of crudo. Right now, I’m especially interested in the fluke. I would drink Avinyó Penedes Vi d’Agulla Pétillant 2014. It’s a sparkling muscat, super floral and fresh—the name “Vi d’Agulla” means prickly wine. Or the Patrice Colin Pineau d’Aunis pét-nat from the Loire. These wines don’t collide with the food. I love them—they taste fresh, with good levels of acidity. They’re flat out high pleasure.