Pétillant-Naturel wines, charmingly shortened to Pét-Nat, are some of the most fun wines out there. The (ancestral) method to its madness is that the wine is bottled (usually with a crown cap, like a beer) while still fermenting. Carbon dioxide, one of the byproducts of fermentation, gets trapped in the bottle. The resulting wine is a frothy, fizzy delight.
They can be quite volatile, so open them slowly. (I’ve learned the hard way.) Pét-Nats are also risky to make because you’ve already bottled it while the wine is still doing its thing, so the results can be…unexpected.
Pét-Nat is one of the wine world’s preeminent pleasure-givers, period. Recently I tasted a bunch at an event called “Wild Yeast.” Here are three that stood out. First two are Italian, the third from (yes) Vermont.
Fizzy Pét-Nat Trio
La Staffa “Mai Sentito”
Mostly Verdicchio, from Italy. (What I can find online says it’s 100% Verdicchio but the guy pouring it said it was 70%Verdicchio/30% Garganega. See the label above.)
This was really cool. Hard to tell due to the picture, but it’s in a bottle that seemingly made for a German wheat beer. The wine is composed of Corvina, a red grape that’s a big component in Valpolicella and Amarone.
I really like the wine descriptions on Massimago’s website. If you pick a wine and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find suggestions to enjoy each with:
- feasting on dreams
- crossing glances
- soft light
- the magic of waiting
Paired with a sparkling rosé made from Corvina, I find the latter most evocative and lyrical.
Ci Confonde Rosé
Finally, I got to say hello to Deirdre Heekin, winemaker/grape farmer (and more) from La Garagista in Vermont. She was nice enough to invite me to this tasting. I ran though her lineup of wines and the fizzy rosé, the Ci Confonde, was my favorite. It’s made from Frontenac Gris, and tasted like roses (the flowers). With a little grip on the finish, the Ci Confonde makes for a pretty amazing food wine.
Go forth and find that fun fizz!