Despite being a relatively new buzzword in the wine world, the production of Pét-Nat – or Pétillant Naturel to give it its full title – dates back to long before the genesis of other more famous sparkling wines such as Champagne.
Following a technique known as méthode ancestrale or “artisanale,” winemakers create a lightly-sparkling wine using one single fermentation. The wine is bottled using a crown cap (like a beer bottle) before fermentation is fully completed. This ensures that natural carbon dioxide is then produced by the continuing fermentation of the natural sugars found in the grapes. This is unlike the méthode champenoise or ‘Traditional Method’ used to produce Champagne, in which a base wine is fully fermented then a secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle.
The production of Pét-Nat can be extremely challenging due to the lack of control that can be exerted over the fermentation process. Therefore, a great level of expertise is required on the winemaker’s part to ensure the resulting wine is clean and fresh. Generally, Pét-Nats are extremely lively wines which offer a true reflection of their terroir. They are often cloudy, due to the continued presence of lees in the bottle as well as a lack of filtration in the process.
The ‘Pure & Naked’ Pét-Nat from Ludwig and Sandra Knoll has been a firm favourite of ours since we first discovered it a couple of years ago.
At Weingut Am Stein, nestled among the most famous vineyard sites in the Franken region of Germany, the Knoll’s produce a variety of still and sparkling wines following biodynamic principles.
Their ‘Pét-Nat’ is a blend of Cabernet Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. As would be expected in this style, the wine is unfiltered and showcases fragrant aromatics of elderflower, lemongrass and fresh mint. It possesses naturally high acidity with lots of soft fizz, bright citric fruits and a green savoury finish. As the name suggests, this wine is ‘pure and naked’: no additives during the winemaking process and no added sulphites at bottling.
Sandra and Ludwig are also well known as the hosts of their annual ‘Hoffest’, a celebration of food, wine, music and culture that they host among their vines. Like so many events across the globe, Hoffest has been postponed this year but check out the video below to see a little more of what it typically entails and party with them in spirit – with a glass of Pét-Nat in your hand of course!