Why Did We (Finally) Make A Pet Nat?
Pet Nat's are here to stay. It was only about 10 years ago that the world of Method Ancestral began to make it's way to our mighty island, with the legendary James Erskine from Jauma Wines believed to have crafted the first on Australian soil with his fizzy Grenache called Biggles in 2011. Since then there are swathes on swathes of outrageously delicious pet nats being produced all over the country, from our neighbours in the Basket Range, to the Canberra districts, all the way to Great Southern in W.A. - it's not a trendy fad, this is an established category.
It makes a lot of sense why people are so excited by it. It's fun, it's incredibly refreshing, and it's a style of wine that really suits our climate - you've got to serve it ice cold and it's best enjoyed with great company. And you can make it from any grape! Pinot, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Savagnin, Gamay - these are just a small sample of grapes used to make pet nat in this country!
It's pretty amazing to see a massive resurgence in Pet Nat, especially since it's definitively the most ancient style of sparkling winemaking we know of (get it? Method Ancestral?) It predates Method Champenoise (the Champagne method of bottling on lees to get it nice and toasty before explosively disgorging it) by over 200 years - originally crafted in the Limoux region of the Languedoc from Mauzac grapes (Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay are also permitted).
But the question we've always been asked as winemakers, with the rise of the natural wine movement happening all around us, with our friends and peers crafting pet-nats, even having specialised pet nat only producers in the country, why haven't we dipped our toes in?
For one, battle scars, with our Brendan's first solo vintage in the Adelaide Hills trying to make a crude expression of sparkling wine with still wine and a few too many Coopers Brew Kit Carbonation Drops having dangerous results... Plus, we really just like drinking our friends' wine, and we became obsessive about the right varieties in the right place.
But that pervasive thought of "we should make a pet nat" came bounding down the door as we tried our mate Alex Sherrah of Sherrah Wines Fiano Pet Nat at Osteria Oggi - It. Was. Delicious. We were inspired. We were locked in. Let's make a Pet Nat.
And here we are. Our very first example. Sea Foam. A delightfully frisky and frivolous Pet Nat from the Riverland broke the curse that we laid upon ourselves. The monkey is off our back, in bottle and tasting outrageously good. Is this going to be one of those classic Unico one-off dealios? Well, it's adorned with our Rip, Tear and Share style mosaic label, so on our watch, it's here to stay. Not so scary after all.