Oranges and Pets

Two wines that are all the rage now are Orange Wines and Pét Nats. 

What?

Right...what are these wines....

Orange wine is the generic name for a type of white wine......made from grapes not oranges!

It's the process of making these wines that gives them the name. Think of it this way...if rosé wine gets its color by leaving the skin of the grapes in contact with the juice for a short period of time, orange wine gets its name in much the same way. The juice is fermented with the seeds and skins attached in the same pot (often cement or ceramic) for an extended period of time. It is a very natural process with little or no additives. The color isn't really orange but but it's not white either and the taste is somewhere between a white wine and a red wine. 

The non-interventional style of producing these wines fits nicely in the tremendous interest in organic and natural wines. So Orange wines are super trendy and I've got a couple...stop by and try some.

So, what is a Pét Nat??? This is the short name for Pétillant Naturel which is a wine that light, natural and bubbly.....sort of champagne lite.

This new wine sensation is not really new at all. 

Pét-Nat is produced in the méthode ancestral. Long story short, the wine is bottled prior to fully completing its first fermentation, allowing carbon dioxide to be produced by the natural sugars found in the grapes. This production method is contrary to the méthode champenoise, the way in which Champagne is produced, where the base wine is fully fermented, then undergoes a secondary fermentation in bottle  Unlike Champagne, Pét-Nat is not disgorged, and may or may not be filtered on  completion of fermentation.

So what do they taste like? Pét-Nats have a light and fizzy mouthfeel and are generally low in alcohol. They are usually slightly sweet, though dry examples do exist. The wines can benefit from a couple of years in bottle, though do not develop with further aging. The bottles are often cloudy, due to remaining lees presence and lack of filtration.  The end result is a raw, rustic, and lively wine, extremely reflective of the terroir from which it came. They can be made from any white wine grape from just about anywhere in the world. I've got one from New Zealand that tastes like a grapefruit mimosa!

So that is the quick and dirty on Orange wine and Pét Nats.......check the website as I'm adding these wines all the time.


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