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Will you be drinking ‘Pet Nat’ this summer?


Unlike world-famous champagne, which is produced through an elaborate process, Pet Nat undergoes just one round of fermentation, directly in the bottle. — AFP pic

Unlike world-famous champagne, which is produced through an elaborate process, Pet Nat undergoes just one round of fermentation, directly in the bottle. — AFP pic

Monday, 27 Jun 2022 11:25 PM MYT

LONDON, June 27 — There’s a new type of wine that is especially popular in Canada and Japan, according to Sopexa’s Wine Trade Monitor international report.

It’s also increasingly getting traction in France, that key wine-producing country that is also responsible for the terms giving rise to its nickname.

Pet Nat is short for pétillant naturel meaning natural sparkling wine, and it’s a drink that is increasingly popular, set to show up at many summer parties and picnics this year.

It’s not champagne, nor is it that other traditional French sparkling wine, crémant, which undergoes a traditional method of production to get the sparkling quality.

What can be said with certainty is that there are bubbles in natural sparkling wine. Unlike world-famous champagne, which is produced through an elaborate process, Pet Nat undergoes just one round of fermentation, directly in the bottle.

First, the juice from the grapes is prepared and immediately put into a keel.

The alcoholic fermentation will start before the winter cold stops the process. With the return of spring — if not the first rays of sunshine — fermentation starts again and will be at the origin of the drinnk’s fizz.

Chenin, muscat, gamay, pinot noir… The winemakers choose the grape varietals they wish to work with. And creativity abounds since there is no set formula for producing a natural sparkling wine in France.

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So there are several examples of white and rosé Pet Nat with more or less pronounced shades.

How are these wines different from other sparkling wines?

Like the growing niche of natural wine produced by winemakers keen on creating drinks with minimal human manipulation and no chemical additives in order to get as close as possible to the “taste of nature”, Pet Nat wines are wines to expect surprises from when tasting.

This sparkling version of natural wine is often labelled organic or biodynamic, labels which indicate that the winemakers are committed to respecting the life cycle of the vines. As an extension of this philosophy, natural sparkling wine is also generally free from sulfite additives.

Since it’s all about accepting what nature offers, it’s important to keep an open mind when tasting and to accept variations in the taste and colour of these types of wine. Sometimes a tasting even involves some disconcerting aromas…

At a time when drinks with reduced alcohol content are in vogue, Pet Nat aligns with the demand of consumers who prefer toasting with options that are not as strong and lower in sugar. The amount of alcohol in natural sparkling wine is indeed lower because there is no second alcoholic fermentation as there is for champagne. And logically Pet Nat is also lower in alcohol.

While we may be inclined to save champagne for special occasions, natural sparkling wine offers the opportunity to enjoy a few bubbles on more occasions — especially in the summer — thanks to a range of more accessible prices. — ETX Studio

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