Pet-What? The lowdown on Pet-Nat.

What is a Pet-Nat?

I bet there’s some out there wondering what this cool, new wine thing Pet-Nat is, right?

Funnily enough, this hip new trend is actually one of the oldest methods of making lightly sparkling wine in the world!

This way of making wine can be traced back to the monks of Limoux, Southern France, as far back as the 1500s. This long history has led to many in modern winemaking naming the production method the Ancestral Method. 

Currently, Pet-Nats (short for Pétillant Naturel) are all the rage, but how are they made?

Unlike the fully sparkling traditional method wines of Champagne, Cremant or Cava, these wines are produced by a single fermentation (whilst traditional method wines see two fermentations). 

The trick lies in the partially fermented juice being bottled, with no SO2 addition. The fermentation then finishes inside that very bottle.

As the yeasts convert sugar to alcohol and complete their journey to dryness (leaving a little residual sugar behind) the by-product of carbon dioxide is created and captured in the bottle - voila, bubbles! 

How fizzy are they?

If you’ve drunk a few Pet-Nats before, you’ve probably wondered why some are more sparkling than others (warning for first-timers: watch out for gushing Pet-Nat’s).

Winemakers choose the amount of pressure they want in the final wine by measuring the sugar content of the partially fermented juice and bottling at the right moment.

That said, even the most exact science is a bit of an unknown and bottle variation is very common, as is batch variation.

Once the fermentation has finished, the winemaker decides whether to disgorge them, and they remain unfiltered, leaving a hazy glow of sediment that can be shaken up or left to settle at the bottom of the bottle - that’s your choice! 

Tip: try gently shaking or not and see which flavour profile you like the best. 

Pet-Nat bottles are closed with a crown cap (like those used on some beer bottles) for no other reason than fashion, cost and ease of use.

Why? Because mushroom corks (used in traditional method bottles) are a pain to insert and require specialist equipment, making them expensive.

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Now the fun part - What do they taste like?

They’re typically low alcohol, fresh, with vibrant fruit and often have a slight lingering sweetness on the palate.

The mouthfeel is often quite rounded and some can feel that bready/yeasty quality in the wines.

The beauty is, they are all different, the sheer amount of winemakers around the world making these wines keep it interesting for even the most seasoned veterans.

My advice - try one, or two, or ten!

 

Wanna try some?

These tried & tested winners below are sure to give you the best impressions of how fantastic these wines can be. 

Porta del Vento - VORIA Bianco

Made from catarrato grapes, this bottle from Porta del Vento is perfect for summer! It's easy going, fresh, salty, and citrussy and with a nice mineral touch. We LOVE it!

€15,90

Les Vins Pirouettes - Pet Nat de Franck

This pet nat from the Alsace region of France is made from 50% Muscat und 50% Gewürztraminer. Complex and fun at the same time - highly recommended!

€20.90

Vin de Lagamba - Frauen Power

This is a super fun German pet nat, made to drink like a German Lambrusco! We love it for cheese or charcuterie, or even just to take to the park. It's fruity & light with a rounded mouthfeel and minimal tannins.

€17.00