Pét Nat is short for ‘pétillant naturel’. It is a French term which translates to ‘naturally sparkling’. They are the funky, cool kid in the wine world, being very on trend and are definitely a smashable tipple to enjoy over the hotter months.
I have tired quite a few over the last few years and done a lot of reading up on them, hence why I thought I would share my Pét Nat wines knowledge with you today. Plus I had a really, really, really yummy one just recently that has inspired me to put together this post. Read on to find out what it was.
If you’re keen to do some reading beyond this post, make sure to check out Rachel Signers You Had Me at Pet-Nat – A Natural Wine-Soaked Memoir wine book.
Now, let’s grab a glass of something yummy, and learn about WTF Pét Nat wines are…
What is a pét nat wine?
To me, when I hear someone say ‘pét nat’, I think of a lightly sparkling, fresh and vibrant wine. They are typically cloudy in appearance and the flavour profiles can really differ based on the grape variety/s used.
The technique for making pét nat wines has been around for centuries, it is called the méthode ancestrale method. This predates how champagne is made and goes back to the basics of winemaking really.
If you’re interested in the exact process, I would recommend looking it up however it really is a fairly straightforward process that involves minimal intervention. There is nothing added during the winemaking process and nothing filtered out at the end. Winemakers who are making pét nats let the grapes do the wine-ing 😉
For the wine geeks out there – the wine is bottled before the primary fermentation and no extra additions of secondary yeasts or sugars are added. They are typically unfiltered (hence the cloudiness) and are capped with a crown seal (like on a beer bottle) instead of a cork or screw cap. As they are bottled while still going through the fermentation process, it means a small amount of carbon dioxide is trapped in the bottle to make them fizz.
What do pét nats taste like?
As pét nat wines can be red, rose or white and can be made from any grape or any blend of grapes – it’s impossible to generalise the taste. Every pét nat has its own unique characteristics and tastes depending on the grape varieties used and where they were grown.
If I had to describe them personally. I would say that they are crisp, refreshing, fruity and have a wonderful vibrant effervescence. They typically retail for around the AU$30 mark.
Here are 6 pét nats I have tried and would recommend
- 2021 Vinaceous Crafted By Hand Pétillant Naturel [pet nat]
Grapes: Arneis (54%), Pinot Grigio (30%) and Gewürztraminer (16%)
This bottle inspired me to write this blog post, I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t resist getting my pet nat on and spreading the word. We were kindly gifted this bottle to try and oh my, I’m in love. It is so delicious and definitely worth trying. It looks like cloudy apple juice in the glass and has a lovely tropical nose full of dragonfruit, navel oranges, juicy pears and lemon sherbet. It’s delicately balanced in the mouth with a light body, super soft bubbles and a yummy sherbet finish.
- Marri Wood Park Bratty Nat (Pétillant-Naturel) Margaret River
Price: $30 (made in small batches annually and it quickly sells out)
Marri Wood Park are a chemical free and biodynamic winery in Yallingup, Margaret River. On the eye it’s a cloudy yellow-beige colour. On the nose it’s like a bowl full of apples with a slight chalkiness to it. While in the mouth those apple and maybe a bit of pear flows through with an almost syrupy texture and a lick of pineapple. Bucket loads of flavour and nice and refreshing. The label is made from recycled cotton.
- Irvine The Baroness Pet Nat – Eden Valley
Price: $23 (I was gifted this bottle through Good Pair Days – grab your discount code here)
It’s made from Petit Meslier (a lost Champagne variety) and Chardonnay from South Australia’s Eden Valley. It’s a cloudy pale lemon shade in the glass with plentiful bubbles streaming up to the top of the glass. The nose evokes thoughts of fresh bread, lemon and apples. While in the mouth it has a bursting vivaciousness to it. It’s incredibly dry and refreshing with lemon and grapefruit zest coming through in particular.
- Dormilona ‘Yokel’ 2020 Trebbiano Pet Nat
The grapes are sourced from Vino Italia in Perth’s Swan Valley. In the glass it’s a mysterious cloudy golden yellow-peach colour. It’s a super intriguing fizz, think flavours and aromas of pear and guava with a tropical acidic bite. It’s racy and crunchy. Love those textural flavours.
- Ngeringa 2018 Uncultured Pét Nat
Price: $23 (I was gifted this bottle through Good Pair Days – grab your discount code here)
It comes from South Australia’s Adelaide Hills region and it’s safe to say Ngeringa have made a name for themselves as a small batch biodynamic wine producer. In the glass it’s a cloudy white to peach to orangey shade, giving off major sunset vibes. The nose makes me think of peach juice, spearmint or something rather cooling and grapefruit rind. While in the mouth it’s definitely dry yet it has this grapefruit tart turn strawberry lemonade-ness to it with a pinch of salt. A unique and very interesting bubbles that has a refreshment factor of 100+.
- Ghost Rock 2022 Supernatural Pet Nat
Grapes: Chardonnay (40%), Riesling (23%), Sauvy B (23%) and Pinot Noir (14%)
What a beauty! We tried this today (6 Jan 2023) at the Lewisham Tavern here in Southern Tasmania and I loved it. This Tassie Pét nat was divine and it was hard to believe the ABV was 12.5% as I could easily drink a bottle or two of it in the sunshine. I am sure after that I would realise the alcohol content. Haha. In the glass it’s a stunning cloudy pastel pink with refreshing notes of citrus, raspberries and cranberries. It’s dry and bloody smashable. We had it with some fresh blue eye fish and chips, which was a divine match. I loved it, my mum loved it and I think I need to order a case stat.
By the time you are reading this, newer vintages will probably be out of the above wines, however it will give you a bit of an idea of the array of colours, smells and tastes you can come across with pét nats.
What is the difference between pét nats and champagne?
Champagne makers must stick to very specific rules when they are making a sparkling wine that will be labelled as a champagne. This means they can only use certain permitted grape varieties, they must spend at least 15 months in bottle before being released and more. Plus of course champagne can only be called champagne if it is made in the Champagne region in. France.
There are pretty much no rules when it comes to making pét nat wines. As mentioned above, they come in a range of colours and tastes.
To put it simply, champagne is more refined and typically yeasty and toasty, while pét nats are rustic, fresh and raw. You really never know what you’re going to get with a pét nat until you pop that crown cap, whereas with a champagne, you can kind of expect what you might smell and taste in your glass.
To drink now or cellar?
Pét nats are made for consuming now. They are not made for long term cellaring. So if you’re purchasing some, make sure you plan to drink it sooner rather than later.
How to store and serve pét nat wine
As you would with any wine, you should keep your pét nats in a cool dark place away from sunlight and heat until you are ready to consume them. And of course, you should serve them up nice and chilled.
For me they are the ultimate summertime wine. Pop them in the fridge the day before to nicely chill and then grab them out on a hot day to enjoy in the backyard or around the pool.
Like all wines, don’t compare them to champagne, prosecco or other sparkling wines, have an open mind and enjoy their uniqueness.
What foods should you match with a pét nat wine?
As every pét nat as a definitely flavour profile and personality it, it’s quite hard to be specific about food matches. However based on whether you go for a white, rose or red, the general food and wine matching rules apply. E.g. whites go well with white meat and seafood, reds with red meat, etc.
I find that most pét nats have a decent level of acidity to them, so it’s good to bear that in mind. I always like to think about either complementing or contrasting the acidity with food – therefore go for a creamy salmon sushi or perhaps a vinaigrette soaked salad.
As pét nats are very much a summertime drink for me, I like to have fresh foods with them. Think fresh summer salads, cheese and charcuterie boards/platters, seafood, or even a good old barbecue in the backyard.
Where to buy pét nat wines
There are quite a few wineries making pét nat wines so buying direct from the winery is always a good option. Here’s a few I have heard good things about and are keen to try:
- Prometheus Wines Vermentino Pet Nat from Riverland
- L.S. Merchants Notorious from Margaret River
- Ghost Rock Pet Nat from Tasmania
Otherwise many of the online retailers also stock a range of pét nats these days too. Here are a few you can check out:
Pét nat wines at Good Pair Days
And don’t forget to use the promo code “travellingcorkscrew” to get $23 off your first monthly subscription box!
- Pet Nat Picnic Pack $110
- Ricca Terra ‘Cinderella Beads’ Pet Nat 2021 $29
- Els Vinyerons ‘Pregadeu’ Pet Nat Cava 2019 $39
- Lansdowne ‘Super Plonk’ Pet Nat 2021 $28
- Moondarra Chardonnay Pet Nat 2021 $32
See the full range of Pet Nats at Good Pair Days here.
Non Alcoholic Pét Nats
Yes there is such a thing as non alcoholic pét nats! Melbourne based brewery, Monceau Co are focused on making innovative non-alc drinks. They have really grown a name for themselves as a fantastic alcohol-free alternative to natural wine.
The Monceau Co Pét Nat Kombucha comes in a variety of flavours and they use the same methods from Petillant Naturel wine making plus use local Australian fruits, and no nasty additives.
Learn more about these non alcoholic pet nats here.
Have you tried a great pét nat recently? Let us know about it in the comments below.