Wednesday wines: Inside the Cult of Pét Nat | Gourmand and Gourmet

Wednesday wines: Inside the Cult of Pét Nat

There’s an ancient style of wine that’s currently making a resurgence. It’s more than likely you’ve never even heard of it before, but it’s a style that once imbibed is immediately enjoyed and not soon forgotten. The thought of it will linger and you’ll want more, in fact, you’ll need more. The style we’re talking about is Pétillant Naturel, French for ‘naturally sparkling’, but you can call it Pét Nat. So what’s this wine style all about? Pét Nat is most closely associated with the France’s Loire Valley where the vintage is long and cool, perfect for a technique known as méthod ancesteral. This method of producing sparkling wine predates that used to create Champagne (méthode traditionelle), which is a more modern and predictable process. This technique is as hands off and minimal interventionist as they come. It all starts with a wild yeast ferment, the natural yeasts that live in the vineyard and are specific to that site only. The ferment can go for varying amounts of time but long and slow is ideal. Then, before the ferment is entirely completed, you bottle the wine. This means the ferment finishes inside the bottle and the carbon dioxide is unable to escape, which creates the bubbles. This creates wines that are intensely terroir driven, giving you a true sense of place, yet are completely fun and distinctly unserious. The other great thing about this style is that you can use whatever grapes you want and there are no restrictions on where you can make it, not to mention there are no additives, so your head won’t be particularly sore in the morning. If you’re interested in introducing yourself to this style, head over to Cru Bar + Cellar where they can tell you all about it! Words by James Cooper