Pet nat or (pétillant-naturel) is natural sparkling wine and you love it because it’s wine and you’re a wino but also it’s sparkling wine and bubbles are delicious and fun and they make you feel a bit fancy so yeah, that’s why.
Wait, you have more questions? Sigh. *Opens up Google*
Pet-net is basically the old school version of champagne. Like, really, really old school – the wine making style is know as méthode ancestrale, and while it is fermented in the bottle like Champagne, it is generally unfined and unfiltered; a more simple and rustic style of wine.
What does it look like? What does it taste like?
The best way I can describe pet nat – (I being someone who has tried maybe five different types and all in the last six months or so – so you know, expert opinion) is lively and exciting.
The first time i ever tried it was at Harvey Leigh’s in Highgate, one hot summer afternoon. I was there with my friend Faith and she ordered a bottle of the La Violetta Patio Nat. It wasn’t actually on the wine list, which 1) told me this was going to be something special 2) confirmed that I am hanging out with the right people and 3) totally confused the guy serving us.
Enter a different staff member, a rather lovely young Italian “wine guy” (his words, totally apt) who came to confirm and commend Faith’s selection. He brought the bottle back to us with excitement, and opened it with great care and ceremony. While he had clearly opened millions of bottles of wine before, pet nats are sealed with a crown cap, and can be unpredictable!
He got it open without it foaming up everywhere, and pointed out all of the “bits” dancing around inside with the bubbles (unfiltered and unfined = cloudy and full of fun floaties).
All that build up could have been dangerous but when I finally got those bubbles in my mouth I was not disappointed. Like most pet nats it was vibrant and refreshing and spritzy and full of texture. Is “fun” an acceptable descriptor in wine tasting? Coz this shit tastes like fun!
What grapes do they use?
Pet nat can be made with any grape but it apparently works best with high acid varieties like Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Reisling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. So the wine can be any colour, from white to orange to pink to red. (The Patio Nat was pink so I was always gonna love it, made from black muscat and Reisling grapes).
Pet nat seems to lend itself to cool names like Nat Daddy (Brave New Wines), Natorious (LS Merchants) and Heavy Petting (Wildman Wine).
Also, they are often made it small batches and can be hard to dig up so I highly recommend doing your own research. But some other good ones to try if you can find them are:
- Ladygarden Rose
- Swan Valley Wines Vallee De Venom
- Ravensworth Ancestral Reisling