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Pét-nat for beginners

Riding the wave of the natural wine movement, this gently refreshing, often hazy fizz comes in an array of styles to discover and is making its mark on wine lists everywhere.

Electric pink, burnished orange, pineapple yellow, ochre, coral, deep ruby, blood red: the possibilities are endless. But always effervescent. Pét-nat – the now widely accepted shorthand for ‘pétillant naturel’ – is a style of sparkling wine that has deep historical roots. It’s thought to be the oldest method of making sparkling wine, pre-dating Champagne, hence its alternative name: méthode ancestrale.

Unlike Champagne, which undergoes two fermentations, the second of which takes place in the bottle to create the fizz, the méthode ancestrale involves bottling the wine before it completes its first fermentation. The process continues in the bottle, capturing the resulting CO2 to produce a bubbly wine. There is no dosage (in traditional-method sparkling wines, the addition of sugar after the second fermentation to determine the final sweetness), and most are bottled using a simple crown cap, like you would see on a bottle of beer or a soft drink – although you do occasionally see some with a cork and cage.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 30 top pét-nat wines

The price point for a pét-nat is often more approachable compared to Champagne, so it offers vibrant bubbles that can be enjoyed at any time, no matter the occasion. Pét-nat as a style has experienced a new lease of life in the past 10-15 years, and has an air of lighthearted enjoyment and fun around it, tied in to the (re)emergence of natural wine.

Inside the bottle

Pét-nat: 30 bottles that put the fun into fizz

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