Pet-nat is a type of sparkling wine that has become really popular in recent years, from Tokyo to Paris and from Sydney to Amsterda; Short for pétillant-naturel, which means "naturally sparkling" in French, pet-nat is a type of sparkling wine that is made using a natural method that predates the traditional method used to make Champagne. Unlike Champagne, which undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, pet-nat is bottled before fermentation is complete, which allows carbon dioxide to be naturally produced during the remaining fermentation process.
To make a pet-nat, the winemaker begins by fermenting grape juice until it reaches a specific point of sweetness. At this point, which can be already a few weeks after harvest, the partially fermented juice is bottled with a crown cap, which allows carbon dioxide to be trapped inside. As the fermentation process continues in the bottle, the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast dissolves into the wine, creating bubbles. Since the fermentation process is not complete when the wine is bottled, the final product is typically less effervescent and less consistent than traditional method sparkling wines.
Pet-nat can be made using a variety of grape varieties, including red, white, and rosé, and can be either still or sparkling. Since pet-nat is typically bottled with a crown cap, the wines can sometimes have a slightly funky, reductive quality that is reminiscent of natural wines. This makes pet-nat a popular choice for those who prefer a more natural and rustic style of wine.
While pet-nat has become the most popular term for this type of sparkling wine in recent years, there are a few other names that you may come across, including Methode Ancestrale, Col Fondo (IT), and Methode Rurale.