Why is pét-nat so exciting?
As a style, pét-nat is ancient however as a trend it is relatively new, having been resurrected as recent as the 1990s. It was in these early, heady days of the natural and organic wine movement that the late Christian Chaussard researched the ancestral method to make natural sparkling wine at his winery in the Loire. From here pét-nats took flight from France and out to the world.
Pét-nats feel experimental, there are no rules, and it’s all the more exciting for it – the wine is essentially still ‘alive’, still fermenting in the bottle when purchased, the downside of which is less control on the outcome. One pét-nat may not taste the same as the next, even if they’re from the same vintage, grapes and winemaker. The wine can also be made from any grape variety, white or red, sweet or dry, which allows a lot more variation and innovation. With the winemaker diligently managing the outcome from vine to wine, every bottle is a personal project of love and passion, created in collaboration with Mother Nature.
For traditionalists, the rustic, mysterious nature of pét-nats can be off-putting, they can seem less refined, sometimes cloudy, with a softer, almost frothy fizz. If your pét-nat is cloudy, it’s just leftover yeast cells which are fine to drink. For futurists, this is what makes pét-nat so thrilling, the wine is wilder, untamed, more electric than its traditional cousins.