How do you make a Pet Nat?
The Definition of a Pet Nat
A Pet Nat (short for Pétillant Naturel) is an sparkling wine made according to the ancestral method, the oldest way to make a wine with bubbles.
What is the Ancestral Method?
The ancestral method is a simple method of making wine with a single fermentation. To do this, you have to cut the alcoholic fermentation of a wine in progress, and then take it back to the bottle in a second time to capture the bubbles.
During alcoholic fermentation, the yeasts consume the sugar in the grape juice to transform it into alcohol, and release carbon dioxide (giving bubbles to sparkling wines). To make a Pet Nat, we cut off the alcoholic fermentation by cold (the yeasts no longer eat the sugar below a certain degree), we bottle the wine (with still sugar), then with the heat the alcoholic fermentation restart (the remaining sugar is therefore consumed) and the carbon dioxide which emanates from it is locked in the bottle. It gives a sparkling wine !
What is the Difference Between a Champagne and a Pet Nat?
What is the Traditional or So-called Champagne Method?
Regarding champagnes and crémants, unlike Pet nat, their production is done thanks to two fermentations. Like any wine, the first fermentation is done. All the sugars are therefore consumed and we obtain a first still wine (often very acid). After the blend of the different cuvées (the grape varieties are generally vinified separately), this blend is bottled with a “tirage liqueur”. This “tirage liqueur” (made up of a solution of cane sugar and yeast) will cause a second alcoholic fermentation. Carbon dioxide will be locked in the bottle.
The tirage liqueur gives a better control of the rate of carbon dioxide that the bottle will contain. It is for this reason that champagnes and crémants often have finer bubbles, and a more elegant aroma.
What does a Petnat Taste like?
Unlike Champagnes or crémants, a Pet Nat wine is not subject to any appellation. It does not have to meet strict specifications. Being just a method, it can be made from any grape variety, be of any color (white, red, rosé), come from any vineyard (Jura, Alsace, Languedoc…), and it may be dry or have residual sugar. This gives such freedom of possibility that it is impossible to define a precise taste. It can be fruity, lively, round, sweet… there’s something for everyone!
However, as we explained previously, compared to a Champagne or a crémant, given that there is just one fermentation, it will always be a little less fine and elegant.
What is the Price of a Pet Nat?
The price of a Pet Nat will generally always be a bit higher than a still wine. It usually costs around 20€. There is no so mouch bottle below €15. Because making a Pet Nat wine requires more work, attention and equipment than a wine without bubbles.
On the other hand, compared to its cousins Champagnes and crémants, it is much cheaper, because it requires less technique and patience. When you want to drink bubbles without breaking the bank, this is the perfect solution!
Where to buy Pet Nat ?
Buy in town
To buy a Pet Nat, you can go to your natural wine shop in town. He will necessarily have a few cuvées to offer you (otherwise he is not a serious wine merchant 😉 !).
The good thing is that a wine merchant can advise you a bottle if you are a neophyte. And so are we, here is our selection of the best Pet Nat.
Buy Pet Nat online
History and Legend
of Champagne & Pet Nat
What is the Oldest Sparkling Wine?
There are many legends (more or less based) on the first sparkling wines. The authorship of sparkling wines is attributed in 1531 to the Benedictine monks of the abbey of Saint-Hilaire.
A monk would have discovered in the spring that the wine bottled in winter produced bubbles due to a resumption of alcoholic fermentation cut off by the cold. This is the beginning of the Blanquette de Limoux. After having perfected the technique, the monks began to master the art of bubbles, and an official document dated October 25, 1544 indicates a delivery of Blanquette de Limoux to the Sieur d’Arques.
The English, Lovers of Bubbles for a Long Time
In the 1660s, Saint-Evremont sent French wine to the English. Surprised, the wine is sparkling, it has fermented during the journey. At first skeptical, then curious, the English will finally love the bubbles which give the wine a joyful and airy side. With demand exploding, they will be among the first to try to transform still wines into sparkling wines thanks to the addition of cane sugar molasses.
What is the Origin of Champagne?
Legend has it that the inventor of Champagne and the second fermentation in the bottle would be the monk Dom Pérignon (1639-1715). Like all stories about sparkling wine, the history of Champagne is linked to chance. A wine that re-fermentation in spring. At first, Dom Pérignon tried to find a solution to eliminate the bubbles because under the pressure of the refermentation, the bottles exploded. Then seduced by the effervescent side, he would have looked for a way to control it until he developed the famous traditional method. After tasting the first glass of Champagne, he would have said :
« Come my brothers, I drink stars ».