|What exactly are "Pet Nat" sparkling wines, and how do they differ from "Traditional Method" sparkling wines like Champagne?
Imagine a wine-maker of old bottling a wine before all of the sugar was converted to alcohol by yeast. This is something that probably happened quite frequently given the lack of modern wine-making equipment. The remaining yeast would then continue to feast on residual sugar, creating carbon dioxide pressure in the bottle. When the bottle was opened: Surprise…Bubbles! This is still the way "Pet Nat," or Petillant Naturel wines are made. Champagne, on the other hand, is fermented dry before it goes into the bottle and more yeast and sugar are added once it is in the bottle to create the final bubbly wine.
Traditional Method sparklers are also generally filtered, whereas Pet Nat wines are often unfiltered, retaining more of the wild, yeasty aromas and flavors, as well as a slightly cloudy appearance. They also tend to retain more of their pure, primary grapier fruit flavors and are lower in alcohol, making them a great, quaffable summer refresher.
Pet Nats have become wildly popular with today's foodies, as their easy drinkability, freshness, lower alcohol, and somewhat umami-like undertones make them perfect for pairing with food, especially grilled and fried foods.
Now is your chance to jump on the Pet Nat bandwagon and try one of the best from the Loire Valley. Coming to us from one of Paris’s first natural wine bar owners turned natural winemaker, Jean-Pierre Robinot's L'Ange Vin Fetembulles Petillant Naturel is a fresh and lively 100% Chenin Blanc with peachy, honeyed fruit and pleasing yeastiness that will be an easy entry into the world of Pet Nat.
- Rand Sieger, 67 Wine Buyer