By Shirley Roy, Savvy Sommelier
These fresh and vibrant bubbly wines are popping up at many of our favourite Ontario vineyards. Pet-Nat is short for ‘pétillant naturel’, the French name for natural sparkling wine. Like all natural wines, Pet-Nat is fermented with wild yeast in the air. It is bottled before fermentation is complete, which traps some of the carbon dioxide from fermentation in the bottle and creates bubbles. But because Pet-Nats are bottled before their fermentation is complete, it is hard to predict whether the final wine will have a delicate bubble – or be very volatile!
In the past, there have been some unfortunate cases of Pet-Nat bottles exploding. For this reason, you’ll often find today’s Pet-Nats sealed with screw caps or bottle caps instead of corks to prevent any unwanted accidents. Pet-Nat wines are definitely not wines to cellar. Enjoy these bright, bubbly wines within a year of their release. They are great to drink on their own or with lighter food, like salads or some great cheese. Being a natural wine, there will be a fair amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle–best to pour gently & leave it there!