While not inherently natural wine, Pét-Nat’s growth over the last decade has been inextricably linked to the growth of the natural category, with many of the bottles available today having been produced by natural winemakers. Now, with the wine zeitgeist moving away from natural wine, Pét-Nat — or Pétillant Naturel — finds itself at a bit of a crossroads.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Joanna Sciarrino and Zach Geballe discuss the numerous reasons why the style of sparkling wine has achieved a degree of popularity before debating why the reasons for its success may be the same responsible for its downfall.

When Pét-Nat first started emerging in the early to mid-2010s, it was a unique way of enjoying sparkling wine that was different from Champagne and Prosecco. However, with nothing unifying the category of “Pét-Nat” other than a broad method of production, the quality of these wines can vary greatly. Coming in dozens of colors, produced from dozens of grapes, and with each bottle potentially displaying wildly different tasting notes, achieving a degree of synergy in the category is a challenge at best.

Plus, with many of the bottles on the market never having been disgorged or otherwise filtered, Pét-Nats can often pour cloudy or have sediment in the bottle, which can be less than desirable when serving the wine in restaurants. There’s also versatility to consider when it comes to the wine’s place on a restaurant menu. Sparkling wines should be able to be poured by the glass and used in cocktails, all at a relatively low price. With Pét-Nats often having complexities that are difficult to pair while also creeping up in price, the wines can have a high cost for very low usage.

After discussing the state of the union in the category, Joanna and Zach each try a Pét-Nat from their respective regions. Joanna tries a bottle from Channing Daughters on Long Island and Zach pops open the Sémillon Pét-Nat from Grosgrain Vineyards in Washington. Tune in for more.

Zach is reading: Could Domestic Initiatives Help Sake Soar Stateside?
Joanna is reading: No Bourbon Defines the ‘Tater’ Era More Than Weller

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