What is Pét-Nat?

Have you heard of "Pét-Nat?"  Well, it's actually pétillant-naturel but it seems to be more affectionately known as “pét-nat."

Pét-Nat is a natural sparkling wine made using the ancestral method.  Whereas the Champagne method involves a secondary fermentation by adding sugar and yeast, the ancestral method allows the initial fermentation to finish in the bottle without any additives, imparting carbonation by trapping the carbon dioxide that is naturally produced during the fermentation process.

So what you get is a lighter, low alcohol, refreshing sparkling wine without additives.  But, because the yeast remains in the bottle, it tends to be a bit cloudy or hazy.

Pétillant-naturel got its start in France’s Loire Valley, pre-dating Champagne. Today, you'll find it everywhere. And, you are very likely to find it sealed under a crown cap instead of a cork.

Since the wine is named for the method used to produce it, as opposed to the grape type, it can be white, rosé or red, but typically you'll find sparking whites and rosés. The great news is that Pét-nat is typically lower priced (typically under $30) than entry-level Champagnes. 

Pét-nat is viewed as having crossover potential with appeal from beer and cider drinkers who haven’t explored wines, since it has similar flavors to dry ciders and some beers.

It's uncertain if this style of sparkling wine will ever become widespread, but if you find a bottle or have an opportunity, be sure to try it. It isn't a wine meant for aging, so drink it sooner rather than later. Cheers!