The Ultimate Guide to Sparkling Wine (Pét-Nats)

The overwhelming sensation of fizz washing around your mouth, that bone dry feeling after you painstakingly swallow and a half-arsed attempt to sing happy birthday to your just turned 40 aunt Betty.

Exactly what springs to mind when you think of sparkling wine right?

Well, sit tight.

Here at Natural Swill, we love all things bubbly especially the natural stuff! So I’m going to throw a few arguments and recommendations your way on how to enjoy the almighty bubble and for a reasonable price too!

Before we go any further, your number one question is about to get answered…

Is Sparkling Wine Champagne?

In short yes, sparkling wine is champagne. Champagne is a certain type of carbonated wine that by law, must be from the Champagne region in France and made under the rules of the appellation.

Think of it this way; if the wine your drinking is sparkling and comes from the respective region of Champagne in France then it’s champs, all else is just good old’ sparkling wine!


Sparkling Wines Diverse Nature

Now that you’re cleared up on the champagne stuff let’s talk about just how diverse sparkling wine is.

For starters, you have natural sparkling wine which in Natural Swill tradition is what we’ll discuss. In the natural wine world, there’s no shortage of super interesting sparkling wine on the market especially as of recent. Within the last decade, producers have taken the shackles off and went all-in providing you and I the consumers with an abundance of options.

Options, something we all strive to have.

You like just an ever so slight sparkle to your wine? There’s an Austrian ’Gruener Veltliner’ by Hager Matthias for that. You’re curious about red sparkling wine from Italy? The renowned Quarticelo Azienda Agricola is well known for their sparkling red Lambrusco, a must-have if that’s what tickles your fancy!

I personally believe there has been a bad education worldwide on what sparkling wine truly is. It’s not just a £5 prosecco from the store that tastes of nothing or a £75 bank-breaking Domaine Chandon champagne from the lush vines in the Yara Valley.

When I tell you £20-£30 is the sweet spot I really do mean it! There are so many fantastic natural options at this price range.

The Pétillant Naturel (Pét-Nat)

Surely you’ve heard me yam on about Pét-Nats before right? If not, here it is in short; the word pétillant naturel is French for sparkling natural meaning it’s just a French way of saying natural sparkling wine.

In fact, this spritz sparkler days back to pre-Champagne, making it the OG way to produce sparkling wine.

VICKI DENIG, VINEPAIR

Now the method.

Pétillant Naturel’s I.e Pét-Nats have been produced for centuries in a very particular method, the méthode ancestral to be exact, a process that requires the producer to bottle the wine before the fermentation has finished. Carbon dioxide is then produced in the bottle from the leftover sugars on the grapes, leaving you with a deliciously light sparkling wine!

Producers in the last five years across the world have been reviving the mèthode ancestral, now it’s a very popular and current type of natural wine that’s taking the world by storm with it’s elegant bubble, versatile nationality & accessible price range falling on the £20-£30 mark.

You would be a fool not try it.

5 Must-Have Sparkling Wines You Need To Try

The first three are Natural Swill favourites, each has its own unique qualities that will blow you away followed by two 10/10 recommendations from online friends of ours, the highly regarded team over at @pétnatposse. Pét Nat Posse as a collective are the shamans of pétillant naturals, they know everything there is to know about pét nats and have some of the best natural sparkling wine photographs Instagram has to offer. Give them a follow online and you will find your first true love!

Anyway here’s the juice ;

’Pretty Nats’, Rosé Pét-Nat Koppitsch Wines, Burgenland Austria
  • A truly amazing Austrian Pét-Nat that’s quite young but super chuggable. Not too heavy on the ABV at 11% vol, striking fresh red strawberries flavour and perfect for a summers afternoon out your back garden.
Costadilá 280 slm’, Orange Pet Nat Costadilá Vini, Veneto Italy
  • A blend of three different native grapes from the region, this pet nat has a lot of character. Macerated for 20-25 days on the skins, leaving the mouthfeel creamy and tannin inspired (in a good way), there’s a pleasant body to this skin-contact wine and I highly recommend one of my favourites to date!

  • ’Astrobunny’, Rosé Pet Nat Tim Wildman, Riverland South Australia.
    • South Australian pet nat with an electric pink complexion, this one is for the books, believe me. The juice of the ancient Egyptian Zibibbo grapes is left in contact with its skins for 24 hours before being blended with Nero D’Avola (red grapes) & Vermentino (white grapes) both of Italian origin. This blend of amazing grapes is just right when you put an Australian spin on it, resulting in a truly tasty sparkling rosé!

@pétnatpose

’Pash Rash’, Pinot Noir Pét Nat Borachio Wines, Carey Gully South Australia
  • ”Buy pash rash for the peachy grapefruit strawberry creamsicle dripping all over the place through this bottle. 10/10 would make out with this one again”
’Wild Nature’, Skin Contact Pinot Gris Pét-Nat Manon, Adelaide Hills South Australia
  • ”Made from Pinot Gris vines that had been untouched & left to grow wildly on their own for 5 years. Foot stomped, left to rest in skins and aged in oak. WILD good.”

Value For Quality, Price and Pleasure

There’s no denying ’bubbly wine’ even still is looked at as a luxurious drink, paired great with events of celebration. Sure you’ll know this yourself, it is still all of the above, but there’s a new and improved angle to it now. When you look at Pét-Nats to be specific, the wine you get is top quality stuff intricately made by a craft winemaker. And now go by a beginners rule of thumb and don’t pay anything more than £20-£30 for a bottle, you are guaranteed to find a lot of great options for that budget and it’s a great place to start.

The luxurious experience stays present when you taste that fine bubbly Pét-Nat that you’ve paid a fraction of the cost from your usual champagne purchases.

In Hindsight

Sparkling wine is the bomb, and you are the bomb. It’s a match made in heaven right?Seriously though if you’re not already sold on natural sparkling wines especially Pét- Nats I will have to leave you in the hands of the wiser one, Isabelle Legeron MW, author of ’Natural Wine’ and founder of RAW WINE.

Nowadays, the world is awash with brilliant fizz, and it seems on the rise as an increasing number of growers begin to experiment with natural sparkling wines.

… (Pét Nats) are one of the most exciting thing to have come out of the natural wine world. They offer extraordinary value in terms of quality, price, and pleasure.

Isabelle Legeron MW, RAW Wine

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