With the Holiday season fast approaching you may already be dreaming up what your holidays are going to look like. What dishes will you serve, what wines will you pair with them?
Traditionally, Champagne has been the beverage of the holiday season and rightfully so. Champagne is special! However, you may have seen a peculiar beverage in your local wine shop called Pèt-Nat. The bottle shape resembles Champagne and other sparkling wines but appears different. It also tastes different! So what is it? How does it differ from the well known Champagne? Let’s dive in.
First, Pèt-Nat is an abbreviation for Pètillant Naturel. which translates to “Naturally Sparkling” in French. This style of wine is naturally sparkling. Meaning the bubbles are a result of the fermentation process and not injected CO2. Unlike Champagne which undergoes two rounds of fermentation, Pét-Nat is bottled while still undergoing its first round of fermentation. Some producers will use ambient or wild yeasts and allow a spontaneous fermentation, whereas others may elect to use cultured yeasts for more perceived control and predictability. This style of sparkling wine is considered to be a part of the “natural wine” category.
If you’ve ever seen Pèt-Nat before you may have noticed something unique about it. Pèt-Nat when compared to Champagne and other mass market sparkling wines still maintains a bit of natural cloudiness or haziness. As well as sedimentation in the bottom of the bottle. This is normal and not considered faultiness in the wine.
In the region of champagne, growers are tightly bound by regulations for every aspect of growing and production . Only certain grape varieties are allowed to be utilized. Whereas with Pèt-Nat production, the sky’s the limit. Producers are free to use whatever grape varieties they want and there are no fermentation minimums. Pèt-Nat came be grown and produced anywhere, it’s really a winemakers experimental canvas.
Below are a few of my absolute favorites! Look for them at your local retailer or online bottle shop.
Tasting Note: “Small fine bubbles awaken your palate, and the citrus flavor profile is contrasted by a hint of vanilla sweetness that makes this sparkler easy to love. Aromas of sweet brioche and yeasty homemade bread that shout SUNDAY BRUNCH. But make no mistake, this Sparkling Chardonnay makes her French ancestors smile with pride. She stands up to classy dinners, backyard shindigs and matrimonial celebrations. Every day is a Lily’s day.” -Donkey and Goat
Tasting Note: “Delicate acacia and lemon zest aromas expand into juicy Bartlett pear, racy citrus, and faintly tropical fruit on the exuberantly bubbly and light palate. A fine beam of acid and saline minerality keeps things nimble as nutty, yeasty flavors round out and deepen the long finish. Cloudy and wild, it’s a natural pairing with fried seafood, raw shellfish, soft cheeses, and light salads.” -Triangle Wine Company
Tasting Notes: “Sparkling! Gorgeous electric ruby pink salmon color. Intoxicating aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry, plum and watermelon accompanied by our telltale minerality. Just a touch of sweetness, irresistibly delicious, great texture and balance as well as a lovingly luxurious feeling of bubbles. Super versatile and can go with just about anything. From morning till night… 11% alc. 208 cases produced.” -Roma Wine & Liquors
Tasting Notes: Notes of “Bosc pear, ginger spice, honeysuckle and lemon oil. Frothy bubbles on the palate give way to starfruit, soft toasted notes, vanilla and driven minerality. White floral and honeydew mid-palate with limestone to finish.” – Warehouse Wines and Spirits