English Petillant Naturel!

I spent Friday afternoon on the vineyard doing a bit of filming with Monty Waldin, that may lead to a project to produce English Petillant Naturel (or "Pet Nat" for short).

Pet Nat is a naturally sparkling wine that is made with little or no additives. It is bottled part way through the fermentation of the grapes, so that the naturally produced CO2 is absorbed by the wine to give it its fizz. This is different to Champagne, or traditional English bubbly, which goes through a secondary fermentation process with added yeasts and sugars to produce the bubbles.

Pet Nat wines are low in alcohol (often less than 8%) and vary enormously in flavour and fizziness. The winemaker has very little control over the process and has to rely on nature to do its work. The resultant wine will therefore always be different from one vineyard to another and from one year to the next, but many are fresh, exciting and full of character. You'll either love it or hate it but the uncertainty of what it's going to turn out like can be great fun.

Pet Nat is becoming really popular in mainland Europe, particularly in France and Italy. Maybe Albury Organic Vineyard will produce the first English Petillant Naturel!