Posts Tagged ‘natural wine making process’

Pet-Nat Wine 101

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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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!

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Orange Wine

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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By Shirley Roy, Savvy Sommelier

It’s incorrect to call Orange wine ‘the new kid on the block’, since this natural winemaking process dates back thousands of years. There are no oranges involved, either. It’s 100% grapes. Orange wine is named for the ‘orange’ colour it develops during the winemaking process and this style of wine seems to be popping up everywhere.

Orange wine is made from white grape varieties. In Ontario, it’s often Chardonnay or Vidal grapes that are used. Typically, when making a white wine, the grapes are crushed and the resulting juice is separated immediately from the grape skins. Not so when making Orange wine. The juice and the grape skins stay together for many days–sometimes months. And the longer the contact occurs, the darker the orange colour! Letting the grape juice and grape skins sit together is also the usual method used to make red wines, so a common explanation for Orange wines is ‘a white wine made in the same process as a red wine’. As is the case with all natural wines, Orange wine relies on wild yeast that’s in the air for fermentation, meaning the resulting flavours are less predictable. No additives are used in the winemaking process and it’s not filtered before bottling, so it’s often cloudy.

So what does Orange wine taste like? Think of these wines as ‘artisanal’. Many have a funkier taste due to the use of wild yeast. The grape skin contact often results in a bit of the drying tannins you find in red wines, so there can be a black tea-like characteristic. Many will have bright acidity that accentuates the fruit & floral notes and some will also have herbal notes in the aromas. Almost all Orange wines are dry wines, which often makes them a great wine to pair with lighter fare like a seafood or chicken salad–or one of my personal favourites, a smoked salmon brunch.

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