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Wine trends: pét-nat puts the 'fun' into sparkling

Publish Date: 18 Feb 2016

Authored by: Dave Brookes

Wine often takes itself a little too seriously, no? There are times when drinking a glass of wine should just be plain fun, and sparkling wines should be no exception. Sure, Champagne has the prestige and the pedigree for big occasions, prosecco is currently hot property, cava provides delicious drinking, too, but if it’s pure, unadulterated drinking fun you’re after, pét-nat is the answer.

If Champagne is the serious one, all private school and dressed in Gucci, pét-nat is the hip, tattooed younger sibling in the ripped jeans. Short for pétillant naturel, pét-nat is a delicious, lightly sparkling wine, more often than not, unfiltered, lightly cloudy like a real cider and impossibly grapey and vinous in its aromas and flavours.

Unlike Champagne, pét-nats are vinified from grapes alone, without the addition of sugar and yeast to kick off a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The fermentation using indigenous yeasts is then interrupted before the yeasts have totally finished their job; the wine is sealed, most often with a crown seal, and they are bottled trapping the carbon dioxide and creating the fizz. Quite often a little residual sugar is left over in the process.

Overseas, they are gracing the wine lists of the hippest restaurants and bars from Paris to New York, firstly just for their pure drinkability and fun factor, secondly because they are pretty handy in the food/wine matching stakes. Think charcuterie and lighter dishes and you are on the right track. They’re generally lower in alcohol, too.

Pét-nat sometimes goes by the name ‘methode ancestrale’, which hints at how old this method of wine production is. In recent times, the impetus of the “natural wine movement” has propelled the wine style into the public eye, and what was once a hidden, quirky beverage is now a hot item. French producers include Domaine Mosse, Domaine Renardat-Fache, Domaine Gramenon and Philippe Bornard.

The Aussies are getting in on the act and delicious wines they are too. A couple to look out for - From McLaren Vale, try the wonderful Jauma Prisca Chenin Blanc or the delicious Yangarra Pét Nat; from the Adelaide Hills The Other Right Wines do a couple, one each from grenache and chardonnay and the Ravensworth Riesling Pét Nat from Canberra is a beauty. So embrace the rustic, gluggable joy that is pét nat, and be prepared for some long lunches.

Five to try

2014 Jauma Prisca Chenin Pet Nat

RRP $27 | McLaren Vale | Jauma Winery

2015 Yangarra Grenache Pet Nat

RRP $32 | McLaren Vale | Yangarra Estate

2015 The Other Right Bright Young Pink Pinot Noir Pet Nat 

RRP $28 | Adelaide Hills | The Other Right

2015 Ravensworth Riesling Pet Nat

RRP $28 | Canberra District | Ravensworth

2015 The Other Right White Young Thing Chardonnay Pet Nat 

RRP $28 | Adelaide Hills | The Other Right

Next article: take a sneak peek at what else is trending in the world of wine, or pick up Issue 26 of Halliday magazine for the full run-down. 

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