Pétillant Naturel, or pét-nat, is the oldest sparkling wine method, but its semi-fizziness has gained in popularity as of late. More often than not, pét-nats are made by younger, hipper winemakers, and stocked on the shelves of every indie wine shop across the country.
Their popularity also stems from the fact that they’re lower in alcohol, have bright, juicy fruit flavors, and, of course, are delicious. Perfect for day-drinking, post-prandial imbibing or late-night guzzling, pét-nats are relaxing and a lot of fun.
Gilbert 2019 Pétillant Naturel Sangiovese Rosé (Mudgee); $27, 93 points. From the cool climes and lofty elevations of Mudgee, three and a half hours from Sydney, this Sangiovese pét-nat is a hazy sunset pink hue. With a perfume of cut flowers, candied watermelon, ginger and yeasty apples, it bounces with personality. It’s also texturally interesting: raspy and chalky with juicy fruit and a bite of bitter orange at the finish. Chill right down and bring to a picnic. Little Peacock Imports. Editors’ Choice. ‒Christina Pickard
Solminer 2019 Poils de Chien Pét-Nat Rosé (Santa Barbara County); $38, 92 points. A clean version of pét-nat, this sparkler begins with aromas of pink lemon, apricot blossom and a hint of strawberry on the nose. The flavors are crisp and focused, showing light apricot and red pear, which ride a very generous mousse. ‒Matt Kettmann
Albatross Ridge 2018 Pétillant Naturel Rosé Pinot Noir Sparkling (Monterey); $45, 91 points. A cloudy pink and blushed apricot color in the glass, this refreshing sparkler shows peach, talc and zesty citrus aromas on the nose. The palate hits with a lively tang of lemon and orange peel, then shows warmer melon tones and funkier pizza-dough flavors—a wild ride. ‒M.K.
Delinquente 2019 Tuff Nutt Bianco D’Alessano Sparkling (Riverland); $20, 91 points. This vintage of pét-nat offers refreshment so unlike the Aussie stereotype that it’s the perfect tipple to surprise and delight those new to Oz’s diverse modern wine offerings. The color of cloudy lemon juice, it also smells like a freshly squeezed lemon and its rind. Aromatic wild herbs, like fennel and thyme, are there, too, along with a flicker of stony minerality, but it’s really all about the citrus. Bone-dry and buoyed by energetic bubbles, it’s crunchy, stony, citrusy and prickly all at once. Weird, wild, alive and downright delicious. Hudson Wine Brokers. Editors’ Choice. ‒C.P.
Folktale 2019 Talking Animals Pétillant Naturel Sparkling (Monterey County); $30, 91 points. This pét-nat of Grenache Blanc from Mission Ranch Vineyard is cloudy in the glass and refreshing on the nose, with plenty of grapefruit zest, river stones, lime and a hint of riper pear. The palate picks up an Asian pear note and amplifies the wet rock minerality. It is fun and flavorful. ‒M.K.
Grosgrain 2019 Kiona Vineyard Old Vine Pétillant-Naturel Lemberger (Red Mountain); $28, 91 points. This wine hails from the first Lemberger vines in the country, planted in 1976. Appealing aromas of lemon pith, citrus and baked bread are followed by bright, sharply etched citrus flavors. Electric acidity enlivens it. It’s a one wine charm offensive. Editors’ Choice. ‒Sean P. Sullivan
Pét Project 2019 Field Blend Organic Pétillant Naturel Acadia Vineyard Sparkling (Columbia Gorge); $32, 90 points. This is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pear and strawberry aromas lead to a palate full of apple flavors and crisp acidity that ups the interest. ‒S.S.
Left Coast 2018 Queen Bee Bubbly Sparkling Pinot Noir (Van Duzer Corridor); $36, 88 points. This fascinating sparkler is made in the pét-nat style and sealed with a crown cap. The interesting wrinkle is that estate-made honey was used for the secondary fermentation, along with the yeast, which has fallen naturally to the bottom of the bottle. Light citrus flavors with, yes, a touch of honey, carry it pleasantly along. As with all pét-nat wines, this should be enjoyed while still young and fresh. ‒Paul Gregutt