Everything You Need to Know About Pét-Nat, That Funky Funkiness

Imagine Champagne without the pretense or the price and you’ve got the wine of the moment: pétillant naturel.

Move over Prosecco. Pétillant naturel—which means “naturally bubbly” and affectionately known as “pét-nat”— an industry secret is now coming to the forefront as the sparkling wine of the moment.

Yes, it has “natural” in its name, which is enough right there to make it buzzy, but everything about this lightweight, fizzy drink quenches the modern thirst for authentic, handmade, unadorned wine.

Meanwhile, you’ve probably thought: “What’s the deal with pét-nat wine?”

Well,  pét-nat wine is enjoying a resurgence as part of the broader natural wine trend that’s appealing to wine drinkers who are more conscientious about what they’re consuming, including wines that haven’t been tinkered with much.

Crafted from white and red grapes alike, pét-nat is made by taking unfinished (in other words, still-fermenting) wine, bottling and capping it, and allowing it to complete fermentation in the bottle (that’s where the bubbles come from). It’s the ultimate in lo-fi winemaking, conjuring images of ruddy French farmers in grimy blue coveralls filling bottles by hand.

The bubbles are a bit more frothy and, with pét-nat, you might think of your favorite sour beer, if that beer had a bit of a creamy texture, says Bob Smith, certified specialist of wine and director of beverage at Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina.

Also, the bubbles in pét-nat are gentler, says Taylor Berk, sommelier and wine director at Animae in San Diego.

“The flavor profiles are more direct and less mature,” Berk says. “You might pick up notes of pink Starburst candies with a bit of a sour edge in some of the rosés. Sometimes dry cider-esqe notes from white pét-nats, and a berry explosion in some of the reds.”

Also, since most of the wines are unfiltered (the yeast used during the fermentation is still present in the bottle), you might also get some secondary flavors of biscuit or toast, says Eric LaVoie, a WSET Level 4 and assistant wine store manager at Eataly Boston.

With that pét-nat primer out of the way, here are six bottles that sommeliers and wine experts recommend.

1. Mosse Winery’s Moussamoussettes

Look to the Loire Valley in France to find examples of pét-nat with a rebellious streak. However, you’ll see they’re made with decades of practice, says Bowen. “Moussamoussettes balances tart raspberry and floral notes with savory, earthy elements like celeriac and yeast,” he says. The bottle has sour, kombucha-esque acidity but isn’t too funky.

2. Wonderwerk Giorgio Riesling Pet-Nat 2020

For an endless summer type of wine, this bottle made with organically farmed Riesling grapes delivers. “It absolutely bursts with tropical fruits like pineapple and mangosteen, while still being bright and refreshing,” says Kristin Olszewski, sommelier and founder of canned wine brand Nomadica.

3. Domaine Lise et Bertrand Jousset Pet Nat Exile Rose 2020

Another stellar pét-nat from the Loire Valley in France, this bottle has a deep black cherry tone with a hint of black pepper and juniper, says Amy Racine, beverage director and sommelier with JF Restaurants, a New York-based hospitality group. “It’s more savory and excellent with game such as duck, turkey, or lamb. It’s also great with roasted mushrooms or nutty wild grain dishes,” Racine says.

4. Broc Cellars Love Sparkling Chenin Blanc

The beauty of pét-nat is that it can be made with all kinds of grapes, with the CO2 trapped in the bottles giving it the “farmer fizz,” says Paola Embry, certified sommelier and CEO and wine director at Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, Arizona. This chenin blanc from 50-year-old vines in Paso Robles, California, is one of her favorites. “It’s bone dry and on the floral side,” Embry says. “It’s also perfect for picnics and a great introductory wine for those just getting into the category.”

5. Clos Lentiscus Gentlemant Penedès Sumoll 2016

This unique pét-nat is made from Sumoll grapes, a black variety native to Penedes, Catalonia, in Spain, explains James Beard Award nominee Karina Iglesias, the wine director at Itamae in Miami. The winemaker, Manel Avinyó (known as the bubble man), uses biodynamic and classic farming methods to produce his wines. This one has an aroma of berries with a hint of hibiscus, Iglesias says. “I love this wine because the result is a fresh and lively wine,” Iglesias says. “You’ll notice a beautiful blood orange color in the glass.”

6. Jacky Blot Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups “Triple Zero” Montlouis Pétillant Brut

This natural, lightly sparkling wine is made from old vine Chenin Blanc in the Loire, which is a region known for consistent and well-made pet-nat, says Estelle Bossy, beverage director at the Panorama Room and Anything At All at the Graduate Roosevelt Island in New York City. The wine is dry and has terrific texture thanks to the 24 months aging on the lees she says. “It’s citrusy, salty, super-refreshing and the perfect juice to accompany oysters from the raw bar,” she says.

Source: MensJournal