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It’s alive, almost electric.
Sparkling and swirling with an e ervescent zip. Rather excitable when exposed to a burst of fresh oxygen. Pop Quiz: Am I describing a sticky midsummer post-vaccine Seattle or a bottle of pet-nat?
Trick question. It turns out it’s both. The buttery July sun hits differently this year. And, in my humble opinion, there is no better way to celebrate than by drinking natural bubbles. As low-intervention wine becomes less of a fashion trend for millennials and more of a bottle-shop staple, pet-nat is proving to be an unstoppable force of fermented grape juice.
Pét-nat is the abbreviation for natural sparkling, which translates to “naturally sparkling” in French. It is made using a method similar to that of champagne, whose exciting carbonation is triggered by the addition of sugar and yeast to an already finished wine. Pét-nat, on the other hand, is bottled without additions, while its juice is still transformed into alcohol. The pressure rises, the sparkling wine multiplies, and thus, the sparkling wine is born, spontaneously. Thanks, scientist.
It’s not just the process that makes pét-nat a mainstay of the natural wine scene. It is also the grapes. The fruits are mainly from organic farming and often the wine is not filtered. This leaves room for incredible diversity and raw expression despite its minimalist approach.
Because there is little control and regulation from start to finish, as well as a typical but intentional lack of preservatives involved, these bubbles are the result of nature doing its job and you can sip two bottles of the same. type of pet-nat who have very different personalities.
In my quest to engulf the best, I’ve encountered it all, from a tangy, hazy rosé that looks like a cross between pink lemonade and grapefruit mimosas.
(Borachio’s Pash Rash, AUS) to a strawberry rich and brackish red bursting with depth of pomegranate and toasted hazelnuts (Bichi’s Pét Mex, MX) to an orange wine that goes down much like a glass of sparkling Tang (Poderi Cellario’s È Orange, IL). Do you remember Tang?
Pét-nat looks bright and new at the moment due to the “natty” craze that has been gaining traction recently. Its presence has skyrocketed everywhere and Seattle is no exception. You can now find it on bottle store shelves, printed on restaurant wine lists, and all over Instagram relatively easily. Yet pét-nat has roots going back to 1531, when the earliest examples of carbonated wine were prepared by monks in Limoux, France, before good champagne joined in the fun and gave you trouble. New Year’s Eve. But unlike classic sparkling wines, there are hardly any rules for pét-nat, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. This is why it is a high-risk, high-yield form of bubbles that is on the rise throughout Washington state.
Winemaker Jay Anderson of Foundry Cellars in Walla Walla has been on board for years. In 2018, he launched the aptly named Pét Project, a label that exclusively produces natural bubbles from grape varieties ranging from ﬂ oral Gewürztraminer to peppery syrah.
“This style is not tied by historical or cultural traditions, so it’s more open to experimentation,” Anderson says. “I like that these wines can be crisp and fresh with a wide range of flavor profiles compared to more traditional sparkling wines. Pét-nat has a reputation for being unpredictable and a little funky at times, but that’s not always true, and it’s not something to be overly concerned about. That’s part of what makes them exciting.
You can, and absolutely should, experience Anderson’s bubbly Seattle selection in Foundry’s Pioneer Square tasting room.
For Dusty Jenkins, assistant winemaker at Gilbert Cellars as well as owner and winemaker of Sage Rat Wine, a new natural operation in Yakima that focuses on Italian grape varieties, pét-nat is also synonymous with accessibility in winemaking.
“Pét-nat is great because it really democratizes the production of sparkling wine,” he says. “You don’t need high pressure tanks, sparkling caps, wire cages and other specialized equipment. And it obtains the same results as more complex methods: bubbles!
As Seattleites, we have a toast this summer. And we have easier access than ever to refreshing, low-alcohol natural sparkling wine that’s good for the planet, your wallet and a warm-weather drink surrounded by vaccinated friends and a sunset melting on the sea. Lake Union. I’ll raise a glass to that.
Bubbles to Pop in Washington
Sage Rat 2020 Pét-Nat Rosé, $ 24: This bold Yakima-based newcomer is made from 100% nebbiolo grapes, and you can expect deep, peach and grapefruit gum that can effortlessly withstand pizza, creamy pasta, or a bunch of deli. www.sageratwine.com
The Orcas 2020 Pét-Nat Dolcetto Project, $ 37: If you thought that a big, dripping burger could only be drizzled with a bold, tannic red, please reconsider your decision. Dolcetto is a sweet and fruity grape that is the star of The Orcas Project’s latest pét-nat. It’s light and sparkling, with a cherry punch and a hint of crunchy blanched almond. Take it out for your summer barbecues. www.theorcasproject.com
Pet Project 2020 Pét-Nat Chenin Blanc, $ 29: With plenty of crispy sourdough vibes and a hint of pear and lime curd, the exceptionally vibrant Chenin Blanc pet-nat from Foundry Vineyards begs you to serve it with a piece of aged walnut cheddar and black pepper crackers. www.foundryvineyards.com
Gilbert Caves Riesling Pét-Nat 2020, $ 24: Look no further for outstanding sushi night bubbles. Gilbert Cellars Pét-Nat Riesling is loaded with lime pie, pineapple sorbet and Granny Smith flavors that pair well with raw tuna while simultaneously lightening up fried appetizers like tempura and crispy gyoza. . www.gilbertcellars.com
Where to take the Pét-Nat Al Fresco
Left Bank: Seattle’s oldest natural wine bar is also the best, and now you can find tables set up outside to sip in the sun. Left Bank also does a fantastic job of just finding great pet-nat, period, whether it’s heavily hyped by the masses on social media or not. Don’t forget to cross the street for a double cheeseburger from Loretta’s Northwesterner to accompany your drink. www.leftbankseattle.com
Bottling: Sitting on the patio of Bottlehouse, sipping wine is like hanging out in the yard of your most knowledgeable friend in the garden. There’s usually a pet-nat by the glass available, and plenty of bubbles for sale in the bottle shop adjoining the outlet, including Jay Anderson’s Pet Project wines. www.bottlehouseseattle.com
Little Thirst: This sister bar to Beacon Hill at Le Vif unveiled its lush backyard last summer. Opt for ideal snacks like prosciutto, pickled olives and / or focaccia. www.petitesoif.com
Sea urchin: If you fancy shellfish, because L’Oursin offers a round of fresh seafood as well as fresh crab, scallops and oysters à la carte. But guess what goes well with seafood? Bingo! Pet-nat. This Central District spot also writes tasting notes on the menu that are incredibly quirky, relevant, and entertaining. www.loursinseattle.com
Delivery and pick-up
DeLaurenti food and wine is one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets. This Italian specialty grocery store in Pike Place offers an extremely diverse selection of natural wines, from local producers on the West Coast to hard-to-find bottles from South Africa. Only problem: his online list is in the form of a very long PDF. Without images. It is worth reading. www.delauenti.com
Champion Wine Cellars: A bustling corner of Greenwood is home to Seattle’s oldest independent wine store, and its natural range is one of the city’s largest. While you can order an organized six-pack delivered to your door, I recommend stopping by the contactless counter to hear the staff’s phenomenal recommendations. www.championwinecellars.com
Glinda: No relation to the good witch, but what you’ll find at Glinda is good wine. With a focus on ethically grown grapes as well as wineries owned by women and BIPOC, there are many great options and a wide delivery window that spans the entire city. www.drinkglinda.com
Diving : If you’re spending a minimum of $ 75, which is dangerously easy to do, this Capitol Hill wine bar that I love for Beaujolais frozen slushies and adjika smothered pelmeni offers free bottle delivery anywhere in Seattle. www.ladiveseattle.com