Pet-Nat: Sparkling Wines Natural for Your Thirsty Days

Posted on: August 5th, 2013 by

Fresca Pet-NatHow is it that an entire category of sparkling wines, Pet-Nat, existed unbeknownst to me? It’s not like I’ve been living under a rock when it comes to bubbles. Fortunately, my ace friend Sarah Chappell, a writer and wine monger living in Brooklyn, was able to come to the rescue and introduce me to the pleasures of Pet-Nat. In fact, she gave me 25 reasons to enjoy Pet-Nat, and you can review each one of them in a previous blog post.

And since one blog post was not enough when it comes to Pet-Nat (which, by the way, is short for petillant naturel), I asked Sarah to be my guest on the Wine Without Worry podcast to talk further. So what makes Pet-Nat different than other sparkling wines? Well, the wine goes into the bottle while alcoholic fermentation is still happening. This way the CO2 that is naturally released is captured in the bottle, making for a fizzy, refreshing delight.

Some producers of Pet-Nat to seek out? Here are two that Sarah recommends from France’s Loire Valley: Pascal Potaire’s Les Capriades and Pascal et Christine Piebaleau. (Note: You don’t have to be named Pascal to produce Pet-Nat in France. But it can’t hurt.)

Not only are these wines refreshing, but a little funky, too. And not funky in an off-putting way, but rather having the complex, cloudy flavors you’d fine in the best cider and beer in the style of Belgian gueuze.

Also discussed is a Pet-Nat from Salina Wine Company in California, and how it tastes like alcoholic Fresca. (This is a very, very good thing.) And since we’re on the topic of California, I have Sarah talk about her internship at Merryvale Vineyards. (You can check out her chronicles of her time at Merryvale on Serious Eats.) Apparently, working at a winery is not all strolling through the vineyards, glass in hand. It’s mostly cleaning. Additionally, we touch on some of the cool, avant-garde producers in California, including Forlorn Hope and Massican.

Also: yeast farts, jawbreaker licking, lo mein, sweat pants, and Daria. And on that note, here’s the show:

Wine Without Worry Episode 16 on iTunes: Pet-Nat: Naturally Sparkling Wines That Quench Thirst

Vintage Fresca can courtesy Roadsidepictures.

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3 Responses

  1. Impulse Wine says:

    I believe this is the same as, or at least similar to “Method Ancestral”, right? The method used for wines like Bugey…
    Single fermentation sparkling, or at least a second fermentation which is not induced by the introduction of additional sugar and yeast, rather is a continuation of a previously halted but not completed primary fermentation.

  2. […] I was listening to this morning was Jameson Fink‘s “Wine Without Worry” who was just in the this episode talking to Sarah Chappell about Pet-Nats. I was amazed listening – what a fun coincidence! […]

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