Do We Pét-Nat?

OKANA­GAN WINE SCHOOL LES­SON # 19:

Western Living - - FOOD / BITES -

I feel sorry for Okana­gan vint­ners (Blue Moun­tain, Fitz­patrick, Sum­mer­hill) who are mak­ing wine in what used to be called

méth­ode cham­p­enoise (and now, thanks to French patent at­tor­neys, is called “tra­di­tional method”). It’s an amaz­ingly time-con­sum­ing and ex­pen­sive process, but the flip side is that it makes exquisitely re­fined and el­e­gant bub­bles. But th­ese days, all the cool kids want their bub­bles “pét-nat” (short for pétil­lant na­turel), a much-sim­pli­fied process that is ar­guably as old as the tra­di­tional method but with fewer steps re­quired of the wine­maker. In the Loire Val­ley, it pro­duced cheer­ful wines made usu­ally from chenin that were far less ex­pen­sive than in neigh­bour­ing Cham­pagne. Here it pro­duces wines that are—like this baby from

Bella Wines— ac­tu­ally more ex­pen­sive than those us­ing the tra­di­tional method. Crazy? Yes and no. On the one hand, it un­der­scores what a great deal our tra­di­tional-method wines are; on the other, it un­der­scores the ap­peal of pét-nat (also known lo­cally as méth­ode

an­ces­tral)— it’s a more nat­u­ral, less in­ter­ven­tion­ist way of mak­ing bub­bles. A sip of one of Bella’s méth­ode

an­ces­trale rosés is a jolt of acid­ity and au­then­tic­ity and pri­mal fruit that proves that, some­times, beau­ti­fully sim­ple isn’t cheap.

Neal McLen­nan's Wine Pick

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