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A #WinePW Preview + My Favorite American Sparkler, Pét-Nat

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

This month I am hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend group and it's a bittersweet month. More on that soon. You can read my invitation to the writers. So, they were able to create a pairing with an American sparkling wine...or pick any topic from 2023 that they missed or wanted to revisit.

We will not be meeting for a chat this month. It's a crazy time of year...and we still haven't succeeded in finding an alternative platform to X/Twitter on which everyone can agree. We hope that we'll be able to work on Threads in 2024. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, here's the line-up for December's #WinePW...

My Favorite: Pétillant-Naturel, 'Pét-Nat' for short

While there are many, many sparkling wines made in the States, I tend to learn towards 'Pét-Nat', short for Pétillant-Naturel, is an ancient method of making sparkling wine. In contrast with the méthode champenoise in which a finished wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with additional yeasts and sugars, Pét-Nats are bottled before the primary fermentation is finished. This produces a much more rustic sparkling wine that is often cloudy and bottled with a crown cap - like a beer - instead of a cork.

There is almost always a Pét-Nat in my quarterly wine club selection from Berkeley's Donkey & Goat Winery. They were, after all, one of the first American wineries to release one. The bottle photographed above is the 2021 Sparkling Grüner & Chardonnay Pét-Nat. According to their website, the Brandts make two sparkling wines per vintage. They rotate, explore, and ensure that they "do not make too many Pét-Nat wines." From a consumer perspective, I say 'Nonsense! There is no such thing as too many Pét-Nats. But, from the winemaker side, I understand the challenge of bottling while harvesting.

I am looking forward to featuring one of their new releases this weekend: Brut Nat v4Sparkling Pinot Meunier from the Russian River Valley. Stay tuned!

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