What does Pet Nat mean? What kind of wine is a Pet Nat?
Short for Petillant Naturel, French for Naturally Sparkling, is the resurgence of an old way of making sparkling wine. You may have seen the phrase Méthode Traditionnelle/ Champagnois with local sparkling and French Champagnes, well Pet Nats are made using the Methode Ancestral method of making sparkling wine – quite literally the ancestral method, the way wine makers use to do it.
The Pet Nat or Method ancestral wine making method, in short combines the traditional method of sparkling one making into one. Instead of combining a fully fermented still wine with yeast and sugar for the secondary fermentation, Pet Nats are bottled halfway through the first fermentation of the grapes. This means the grapes sugars are not fully fermented (turned into alcohol) and the yeasts have more sugars and substance to work with. This produces carbon dioxide, which is then trapped in the wine as bubbles.
A subsection of Natural wines, Pet Nats usually are lighter in bubbles & more spritzy than traditional sparkling wines, and sometimes have a funky and musty nose that come from the yeasts. Of course this depends on each wine, with some Pet Nats showing beautiful freshness and fruit driven noses, as always with wine – it depends on the grapes used and what the winemaker is trying to achieve. The beauty of this style of winemaking is that almost any grape variety can be made into Pet Nat, which creates such a vast array of flavour profiles, tannins, character, texture and clarity – some can be very cloudy while others not so much (depending on the filtering prior to bottling). The one thing that may be a bit surprising to the “new to Pet Nat” drinkers, is the yeast least on the bottom of the bottle, but fear not this is just a crunchy sediment that has no effect on the wine, that can be consumed or left in the bottle. In addition, depending on what the winemaker wants to achieve they may add some extra steps and do some disgorging to get to the Pet Nat they are trying to achieve.
We believe in the quality and producers of all our Pet Nats and we cannot recommend them enough if you are looking for something fun and different next time you feel like a sparkling wine, please talk to our staff or have a look on the website to read up on wines that may be of interest.