In the world of sparkling wines, you certainly know Champagne, the symbol of celebration and luxury. You may have heard of Prosecco, the friendly, accessible bubbly with a lively fruity character. Yet you may notice there is another type of sparkling wine that constantly shows up on social media, and the wine list of the cozy wine bars, a hazy, fizzy wine called Pet Nat. Short for Pétillant Naturel, this wine is gaining popularity with its refreshing bubbles and a wide range of styles. Dear VinoVossers, let’s pop the cap and explore the world of Pet Nat.

Let’s pop the cap and explore the world of Pet-Nat (drawing by Krystal Wen)

Not a Newcomer, But a Renaissance

Surprisingly, Pet Nat is not a newcomer to the world of sparkling wine. The history of making Pet Nat dates back to the 16th century in France. The technique predates Champagne and its sophisticated bubbles. That’s why the way of making Pet Nat is called Methode Ancestrale. Pet Nat’s resurgence in the current wine landscape originated in the Loire Valley of France, where producers rediscovered its rustic, unfiltered allure.

Fermented Grape Juice Only

The appeal of Pet Nat is in its simplicity. It’s wild, unpredictable, and effortlessly cool. The winemaking process begins like any other sparkling wine, with grape juice fermenting. The wine is bottled before it has finished fermenting, allowing the fermentation to continue in the bottle to produce bubbles. There are no extra yeasts or sugars added, only the grape juice’s natural magic.

Taste the Fizz, Embrace the Quirk

Opening a Pet Nat is like opening a surprise gift box. The flavor profile ranges from zesty citrus, juicy apple notes to savory, berry tart, sometimes with a hint of yeasty, bread flavor. The bubbles, however, are more rustic but less abundant than Champagne or Prosecco, making it easier to drink.

Why Pet Nat is Popping

So, what’s all the hype about? Pet Nat adds a casual attitude, an antidote to highly polished wines. With the emergence of natural wine, the simple “fermented grape juice” with a juicy, easy-drinking character, at the same time, capturing the most authentic flavor of the grape and the terroir has won over wine lovers all over the world.

Pairing Pet Nat with Food

Pet Nat is seen as a “vin de soif” or a glou glou wine, a wine for casual sipping and party. However, its vibrant acidity and juicy flavors make it an excellent match for a variety of dishes. It can easily pair with seafood like oysters, or a typical margherita pizza. Thanks to its fruity character, it can also compliment exotic Middle Eastern or spicy Asian dishes.

Pet Nat is a sparkling wine rebellion, a “cool kid” with a lengthy history. It’s no surprise that Pet-Nat is winning over wine lovers with its flirty fizz, daring flavors, and versatility. So, VinoVossers, if you haven’t tried this interesting, unorthodox bubbly yet, let’s begin the journey together and discover Pet Nat!

Sylvia Ba

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