Allow us to introduce you to the original sparkling wine. We mean it: pétillant-naturel, more commonly known by its nickname pét-nat, is an ancient French winemaking technique dating back to the 1500s.
Its name means ‘naturally sparkling,’ and that’s exactly what it is. Crafted using a method called méthode ancestrale, pét-nats are bottled before finishing primary fermentation so that they can complete fermentation in-bottle.
This results in cloudy, unfiltered little firecrackers that are fun and gently fizzy — and, above all, unpredictable. Méthode ancestrale is a riskier path to take because it’s not easily controlled; like the wines it produces, it’s wild, and the winemaker has pretty much zero influence over what happens once the wine goes into the bottle.
But that’s also part of the allure of a pétillant-naturel. No two are exactly alike, not even when they come from the same batch of grapes.
Though they’ve been around for literal centuries, pétillant-naturels — which are viewed as natural wines — have enjoyed a resurgence recently thanks to the popularity of the natural and organic movements. They’re meant to be drunk young, can be made from either red or white grapes, and are an excellent vino option for beer lovers who aren’t big ‘classic’ wine fans. They’re even topped with crown caps, just like beer!