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Probably the most in-vogue sparkling wine style of the current decade, Pét-Nat, also known by pétillant natural and methode ancestrale, just so happens to be one of, if not the, original sparkling wine style. Prior to Louis Pasteur formally discovering the process of fermentation little was known about the role of natural yeasts in the transformation of fruit sugars and juice into alcohol. Winemakers would have stored bottles, believing fermentation had been completed, in cool cellars over the winter. Moving to Spring, and warmer temperatures reawakened the ambient yeasts, generating refermentation in the bottle. This would either result in the the remaining yeast completing this second fermentation - or the bottle exploding!
Nowadays this is a much more controlled, and deliberate process. Up until recently the sparkling wine market had been dominated by the traditional method or méthode champenoise as well as tank method commonly used in Prosecco production. There’s a huge range of styles currently being produced, from all corners of the globe. From white to rose to deep red. A lack of disgorgement will mean haze may be prominent and the presence of residual sugar is also fairly common.
Not just a fad! These are seriously drinkable and seriously complex! Here are 3 examples worth having a long, hard look at:
Beck-Hartweg, 'Tout Naturellement' Pétillant 2020 - A lusciously fruited rose Pet-Nat from one of Alsace's finest natural producers
Jauma, 'Fujisan' Pet Nat 2020 - Chenin Blanc based, expect bracing acidity and some punchy citrus fruit flavours
Calcarius, 'Frecciabomb' Pet Nat Rosé 2019 - Vibrant and refreshing. This is full of summer fruits and moreish complexity.