What is Pét-Nat (Pétillant Naturel)?
Pét-Nat is short for pétillant naturel, which is simply French for “naturally sparkling” – and that’s essentially what it is! This lightly fizzy wine has gained a bit of buzz lately with growing popularity in the natural/organic movement and in more rudimentary methods of winemaking, but people have been sipping on it for ages.
Pét-Nat is not to be confused with Crémant, which is another type of French sparkling. I see Crémant as a softer, more relaxed alternative to Champagne, where as I see pét-nat as an alternative to beer (though it is of course a wine) – it’s very easy-drinking, and is an affordable and refreshing beverage to keep on hand. Take advantage of pét-nat’s resurgence, because this stuff might be your new go-to.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what pét-nat is all about:
- Pét-nat is made with what is known as the “ancestral” method, which is the oldest version of sparkling wine making with origins in France; this method involves bottling before first fermentation has finished, allowing the process to complete in bottle (versus the Champagne method, which commence second fermentation in bottle after the first has completed); this less room for control in how the wine will result
- Pét-nat can be made with red or white wine grapes, and is usually dry and sometimes slightly sweet
- The more rustic approach to making pét-nat means it is usually less refined (in a good way!) – each wine varies and will usually be quite aromatic
- This ancestral winemaking process also results in a much less bubbly wine than Champagne, or even Crémant; this light fizz is why I think pét-nat makes a nice substitute for a golden or cloudy beer (moreover, this winemaking process results in a less alcoholic wine, sometimes nearly on-par with beer)
Due to the ancestral fermentation process used in pét-nat, it is less bubbles than Champagne-style sparkling wines
- Bottles of pét-nat won’t break the bank (or shouldn’t, anyway) – this sparkling is a more relaxed, casual wine which you can really beautiful bottles of around $25 mark
- Pét-nat isn’t meant to be kept in a cellar – it can last a year or two if stored properly, but generally speaking isn’t meant to be aged… in other words, pop and bottle and start enjoying a.s.a.p.!
There are a lot of fun Australian producers of Pét-Nat – one of which I am loving lately is the Bertrand Bespoke L’Ecume du Jour Ancestrale
For further information on Crémant, read our article on why we love it so much!
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