Persephone Wines Pét Nat is the Perfect Afternoon Wine

I met fellow scribe Rachel Signer in 2015 on a trip to Sicily, right before I moved to New York. We’ve been friends since. She lives in Australia (!) now and is producing her own wines. I was tickled to walk into Thirst Wine Merchants and pick up a bottle from her Persephone Wines label, a pét-nat.

These wines, and particularly Rachel’s, are a fizzy delight. As easy as they are to drink, it turns out pét-nats are very hard to make! I highly recommend reading Rachel’s dispatch from Australia detailing the trials and tribulations of the winemaking process. It’s both entertaining and educational:

Making Pét-Nat Is A Bitch (So Enjoy Drinking It!!!)

For a fizzy wine like this, no need for the fancy stemware. A small juice glass is perfect. I think I paid like $20ish bucks for it but I honestly can’t remember because I bought it along with a bottle of Fossil & Fawn‘s alien juice and the total was like $50something.

I should also mention Rachel’s non-liquid project: Pipette Magazine. It’s an independent, print-only publication about natural wine and the world in its orbit. She’s the editor and publisher, which I image keeps her busy to the point of many anxious yet rewarding moments.

Ok, now get your fizz on!

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Delinquente Wine Makes Fizzy Fresh Fun in a Bottle

After a comparative Australian Chardonnay tasting (stay tuned ) I shoveled in as many little sandwiches as I could and contemplated a walk-around tasting put on by Wine Australia. I was hovering near the Wine Dogs Imports table and, since they are a friendly lot, decided to check on a familiar label. I’ve had the rosé from Delinquente Wine Co. at Somm Time, a Midtown East (wine) oasis. I love a good pun but for this place I vacillate between groaning/embracing. (“We should go there…wait for it…Somm Time.” Ok, ok, I’m kinda into it.)

Anyway, Delinquente’s rosé is made with Nero d’Avola…from South Australia. You see, this winery has a thing for Southern Italian wine grapes. It’s kind of mad, but that’s how I like my winemakers. I tried the Montepulciano and Vermentino, but the Pet Nat that was my true love. It’s a wine that gets its sparkle by being bottled while fermentation is still happening. Pretty risky and crazy. But, again, that’s how I like my winemakers.

What’s the tip of the nutty iceberg is that the Pet Nat is made from a grape I’ve never heard of, and I’m guessing you are in the same boat. (Iceberg? Boat? Well I did go to TITANIC BELFAST recently, which was actually quite fascinating.)

2017 Delinquente Wine Co. “Tuff Nutt” Bianco d’Alessano (Riverland)

 

Label art by South Australian street artist Ankles.

Ok, hands up for Bianco d’Alessano? Anybody? Didn’t think so. It’s a grape from Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Delinquente sources fruit for this fizz from the Riverland wine region in South Australia. The winery web site instructs you to “pop the top and embrace the weirdness” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Fruity, yet dry, and fizzy. At 10% alcohol, you can enjoy a lot of it. This is just a flat-out fun wine. Yours for $22.

Delinquente Wine Makes Fizzy Fresh Fun in a Bottle

Not my hand, but co-sign the thumbs-up.  / Facebook/Delinquente Wine Co.

 

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The Fizzy Delights of Pét-Nat: Three to Try

Pétillant-Naturel wines, charmingly shortened to Pét-Nat, are some of the most fun wines out there. The (ancestral) method to its madness is that the wine is bottled (usually with a crown cap, like a beer) while still fermenting. Carbon dioxide, one of the byproducts of fermentation, gets trapped in the bottle. The resulting wine is a frothy, fizzy delight.

They can be quite volatile, so open them slowly. (I’ve learned the hard way.) Pét-Nats are also risky to make because you’ve already bottled it while the wine is still doing its thing, so the results can be…unexpected.

HOWEVER…

Pét-Nat is one of the wine world’s preeminent pleasure-givers, period. Recently I tasted a bunch at an event called “Wild Yeast.” Here are three that stood out. First two are Italian, the third from (yes) Vermont.

Fizzy Pét-Nat Trio

La Staffa “Mai Sentito”

Mostly Vermentino, from Italy. (What I can find online says it’s 100% Vermentino but the guy pouring it said it was 70% Vermentino/30% Garganega. See the label above.)

The Fizzy Delights of Pét-Nat: Three to Try

Massimago “Zurlie”

This was really cool. Hard to tell due to the picture, but it’s in a bottle that seemingly made for a German wheat beer. The wine is composed of Corvina, a red grape that’s a big component in Valpolicella and Amarone.

The Fizzy Delights of Pét-Nat: Three to TryI really like the wine descriptions on Massimago’s website. If you pick a wine and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find suggestions to enjoy each with:

  • feasting on dreams
  • crossing glances
  • soft light
  • the magic of waiting

Paired with a sparkling rosé made from Corvina, I find the latter most evocative and lyrical.

Ci Confonde Rosé

Finally, I got to say hello to Deirdre Heekin, winemaker/grape farmer (and more) from La Garagista in Vermont. She was nice enough to invite me to this tasting. I ran though her lineup of wines and the fizzy rosé, the Ci Confonde, was my favorite. It’s made from Frontenac Gris, and tasted like roses (the flowers). With a little grip on the finish, the Ci Confonde makes for a pretty amazing food wine.

Go forth and find that fun fizz!

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