01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

The Society's Community

Pet Nat or Petillant Naturel

I would be interested to know members’ views about Pet Nat wine. Having done some investigation and tasting my own conclusion is that it is a base wine with some added fizz. Despite its apparent popularity in London and SE England and its enthusiastic reception by the natural wine brigade I am not hopeful for its long term future.
Others may be more optimistic? What price would you pay? Are UK Pet Nats better than our continental competitors?

1 Like

I’ve enjoyed most of the Pet Nat wines I’ve tried a couple have been quite bad though! The proper ones I believe are single fermentation, without the disgorging of the yeast that happens in champagne.
Drinking this over the weekend - will report back:

4 Likes

Pet nat is essentially the ancestral method of producing sparkling wine, there are no set regulations on how exactly this is made but it goes through a single fermentation in bottle as @NickFoster has already said. It isn’t a carbonated wine . They tend to be made in a frizzante manor and contain lower alcohol than conventional sparkling wines… The reputation is varied as some can be really good and some just terrible.

1 Like

Only had the one which was a duffer. Cider 'n chalk flavoured slightly bubbly drink. Would like to try another but they’re not cheap and don’t fancy wasting another 20 or 30 quid. Which ones do you rate.
Should add this is the only “natural” wine I’ve had that conformed to the negative stereotypes of cider/ funk/ sour. The rest have all tasted of wine. Delicious wine.

2 Likes

To answer our question, and having tasted several - not much.

As @Leah says but the making can be a bit sleight-offhand. At a tasting last year I queried why there wasn’t any sediment, if the wine has undergone just one fermentation in the bottle. The presenter, having afterwards queried this with the winemaker, said that the wine had been filtered after fermentation to remove sediment…….

1 Like

That’s pretty common now in the production of the Method Ancestral - e.g. in Limoux, Bugey and the Diois - and I’m sure many others. It allows for production of the Method Ancentral wines -.i.e. single fermentation, but without the sediment that used to be part of the issue with drinking those wines.

1 Like

That raised a whole load of questions then - is there a dosage, what happens to the bubbles during filtration, how natural is it?

Even more reason for me to pass…

By sheer coincidence I’m reading about this very issue now in Wink Lorch’s book. According to her, most method ancestral wines in that area (Savoie/ the Diois) are "disgorged and filtered to remove the sediment. This can be direct from the original bottle to a washed bottle via a filter; more often the wine spends a short period (rarely more than 24 hours) in an intermediary pressurised tank before re-bottling… No liqueur de expedition or dosage is allowed to be added… " (p.120).

So it’s a little reminiscent of the transfer method, but it’s still only one fermentation in the bottle.

2 Likes

These wines have had a resurgence as part of the so-called natural wine movement.

When I first had the rare ones ages ago they were not dry and had sediment so you had to carefully pour them.

These current ones seem to made to appeal to a certain audience but I don’t think there is anything ancient or natural about them if they have been filtered and spent time in a pressurised tank.

I’m inclined to agree with you on that, @peterm

Nevertheless, there are still some around that do have the sediment in them. It’s such a broad category, and without doubt the natural wine movement has boosted sales of this category. They are not coterminous with that category though.

One of the more entertaining ones I bought was a sparkling aligoté. It came sealed with a crown cork (as many do), and the wine merchant warned me to open it outdoors. Even after chilling it down and keeping it rested for weeks, there was a loud “whump” on opening, and fully one third of the contents jetted across the garden. What was left was a nice wine though.

6 Likes

But there are NO rules for wines labelled Pet Nat, they can pretty much do as they please, dosage, no dosage, filter, don’t filter. They “often” use the ancestral method but don’t have to . It’s completely down to the wine maker how they make it .

3 Likes

Quite right! I should have made a distinction between Method Ancestral wines, of the kind that’s been around for a long time, such as those from Limoux or the Diois, and those new style Pet-Nat wines that seem to have thrown the rule book out of the window :grinning:

2 Likes

But has not AOC Montlouis sur Loire recently set out AOC regs for Pet Nat? I have seen several sites mention that fact but cannot locate what the regs actually say.
Save for the above whilst there may be no rules it would appear that to some extent there are commonly held practices in Limoux or Diois. It is all very well for “new styles” to throw rule book out of window but don’t we come perilously close to the world of Humpty Dumpty? That does not help the consumer at all.

I have always thought Pet Nat wine had one fermentation. Also that the fermentation finished after bottling, but would have started in a much larger vesel, so some crud would have been left behind in the process of transfering to bottle, but the end result would still be cloudy, with no filtering, and no disgorging having taken place

I may be wrong, but certainly that seems to be consistent with the wines I have tried. It seems to be difficult to find ANY attempts to define Pet nat.

I have always found such wines to sharply divide opinion in the groups of wine enthusiasts I have hung out with. The style is certainly not at all similar to wines like, e.g., Prosecco, Cava or Champagne, but I do like it.

The “Montlouis AOC regs” are in the PDF doc linked to here, But I am going to leave it to someone with better French (or more patience with google translate or similar) to read it
https://info.agriculture.gouv.fr/gedei/site/bo-agri/document_administratif-296802fb-ce8c-48e6-b0a9-e0e410745495

I love this haha! Yes we do, Australia is kicking out plenty of Pet nat right now, a lot of it muck but some pretty decent and California is similiar. As far as Montlouis goes, they gave legal status to Pet nat purely to differentiate it from traditional method sprklers already being made so people would know the difference. I’m not aware of whether that comes with specific regulations or if anything that is made in this style is deemed Pet Nat.

Thank you Steve, i will try to read it. My wife’s French is better than mine so she may have her afternoon’s work cut out!!!

Leah, in other words, to coin a phrase, “Pet Nat tastes how I intend I to taste…”

Unless I missed it completely, there’s amazingly little prescribed in terms of making fizz in that document. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly implied, though it does specify that only fermentation in bottle is allowed in order to make mousseaux or pétillant wines. On page 17 it mentions tirage and dégorgement and when you’re allowed to do them, and most of the rest of the process seems to be assumed. Certainly nothing like other cahiers de charge that I’ve seen, that specify everything down to the relative heights and velocities of the conveyor belts in the winery!

1 Like