Pétillant-Naturel Wine, huh?
There is a new-old trend roaming around the wine community called Pétillant-Naturel wine, or Pét- Nat for short. Although it has had a recent surge in popularity, it’s actually got a pretty long history.
So what is it, you ask? Well, to start, it’s a sparkling wine, one that came before Champagne, and the name refers to the method in which it is produced. “Méthode-ancestral” refers to the ancient way of creating bubbly wine before they created the Champagne method. Basically, this method involves bottling the wine before it’s fully fermented which allows the bubbles (carbon dioxide) to be created naturally from the sugars.
This method has hardly been used as the newer methods of Champagne and Charmat have taken the stage. You could consider the Pét-Nat method a hipster wine, as it takes from the minimalist ideals from centuries ago, requiring less equipment and handling of the wine.
The Renaissance of Pét-Nat is due to the millennial generation’s view of sparkling wine as more of a fun, celebratory, and in most cases, a summer beverage, thus driving the desire for a lighter drink. A Pét-Nat wine will have a less aggressive taste but still have the lovely bubbly touch at the end, and it may have a lower alcohol content too.
The truly exciting thing about these wines is that you’re sort of playing roulette with your bottle. Because it is bottled before the fermentation process is completed, the rest of the magic is happening within the bottle, away from human eyes. Basically, when you pop that cork you can’t fully predict the flavor or sugar content, although what you will get is a frothy, fruity beverage with an airy freshness. This is a raw beverage, so it won’t be as clear and pristine as a bottle of Champagne, so expect it to be a bit hazy or cloudy from the natural sediments.
People are calling it the “new rosé” but Pét-Nat is anything but new. It is definitely like rosé in that it’s a perfect wine to drink outside because of the lower alcohol levels and clean refreshing taste, so grab one for your last summer picnics!