What Exactly Is a Pét Nat?
by Jessica Harding
Pét nat is an abbreviation for “pétillant naturel”—a French term that translates to “naturally sparkling.”
While it’s the wine on the tip of everyone’s lips in 2021, for the uninitiated, pét nat is actually an ancient form of Sparkling wine which harnesses the natural gases produced during fermentation to produce lightly (or sometimes very) spritzy wines, packed with personality.
Maybe you already knew that. After all, pét nat has been très hip for a few years now; all the cool kids are drinking it. But even if you’ve cracked a few bottles of the stuff, it’s entirely possible you still had no clue what actually qualifies as pét nat, or how these sparkling wines differ from other types of bubbly.
Here's your answer...
There are many ways to get fizz into a wine, some simply use a massive glorified soda stream type machine and inject fizz into still wine and then bottle, they are shit. Sparkling wines that get the best results are those that use bottle fermentation to gain the famous fizz. Try and remember that wine Fermentation is yeast eating the sugar, like bees collect pollen and honey is the byproduct of bees, in wine fermentation the by-product is alcohol, co2 and a little heat. In Champagne they use Method Traditional to gain their fizz and the basic steps are as follows:
- Press the grapes very lightly, the juice taken from this is known as the cuvee.
- Fermentation takes place, yeast is added to the must and ferments till the wine is “Dry” ( Dry means sugar dry all the sugar in the juice has been eaten by the yeast )
- Wine is bottled Dry but a little bit of unfermented grape juice and yeast is added before a crown seal ( beer bottle style cap ) is added.
- The unfermented grape juice ferments adding a little more alcohol but most importantly, releasing C02 that dissolves into the wine not being able to escape.
- and POP… they have made sparkling wine.
- The wine is left with the dead yeast cells in bottle, some leave them for up to 20 years on lees to add a complex flavours before they disgorge, add some sugar cane juice to balance acidity, add a cork and Bob’s your uncle.
Still with us? Knowing that just makes this next bit easier to grasp.
So pét nat starts the same way… We press the juice off and start fermentation in a vessel or tank, but just before it finishes fermenting, we bottle and seal it. The last bit of fermentation takes place in the bottle producing a naturally sparkling dry wine with no additions.
From there we simply disgorge it. That's it... Nothing further.
The result is approachable fruity, honest mouth watering sparkling wine.