John Paul Kaminga
Organic Pink Pet-Nats
Updated: Feb 25, 2022
We've always got a bit of pink bubbly around, but we've recently received some irrestistible novelties, as well as new vintages of old faves. Each of these little beauties is made with organic grapes, some certified, others from vineyards practicing organic farming but not yet certified. Each is also a pét-nat, short for pétillant naturel, a wine made to be sparkling by the most ancient method, often called the méthode ancestrale. A pét-nat is made by bottling fermenting juice, so that the naturally occurring carbon dioxide accumulates in the sealed bottle, integrates with the finished wine, and results in delightful effervescence. This differs from the méthode traditionelle, notably the method in Champagne, a more technical process in which fully fermented wine is made to re-ferment in bottle.
Certified organic, but practicing biodynamic farming since 2008, Patrice Colin comes from a long line of Colins, at least 8 generations, making wine on the plateau of Thoré-la-Rochette, in the Loire Valley's Coteaux du Vendômois. He makes white wines from Chenin Blanc, but it is his work with Pineau d'Aunis, a vine of particular distinction, that keeps us coming back. Pineau d'Aunis (aka Chenin Noir) is know for its spicy qualities, often redolent of white pepper or radishes, and Patrice makes some of the cultivar's finest bottlings. His Perles Grises, 100% Pineau d'Aunis, is the only sparkling version of the grape we've ever encountered, and we always try to keep a cold bottle around. The 2018 Perles Grises has arrived and it is its usual vivacious self, full of citrus and tart berry notes, as well as a host of airy herbs and spices.
Perles Grises 2018 - $18
Quite unusual, but no wine from Folias de Baco tends to be so usual, the UIVO PT NAT is 100% Pinot Noir from the Douro Valley. The Douro is known for Port, the classic sweet fortified wine, not bouyant Pinot Noir pét-nats. Aromas and flavors of fresh strawberry, herbs and flowers accompany light bubbles, combining in a wine of unusual gulpability.
UIVO PT NAT Rosé - $20
We have been informed of the fabulous red wines of Château de la Liquière for many years, so we were quite excited to hear that they would be bottling a new pink pét-nat. They only made 2500 bottles of this bubbly, from one hectare of certified organic Grenache and Mourvedre. Very fruity, with lots of sweet red berry notes and fresh acids to cut through its ripeness. Not only is this wine made in tiny quantities, but the very notion of a pink bubbly from the Faugeres region of Languedoc is something quite unique. How much should something this rare and special cost? One should surely imagine $20 or more, but no... it's a steal.
L'Unique Gaz de Schiste - $18
Another rarity, this time from southern Italy's Campania region. Casa di Baal is a very young estate in the province of Salerno. The Salerno family owns and operates the estate and has been producing olive oil and selling bulk grapes since the 70s. In the early 2000s, the younger generation began to rip up the family's "bulk" vines, Barbera and Malvasia, to plant Aglianico and Fiano for their own bottlings. As of 2006 they've converted to organic farming, and since 2013 they've been following biodynamic principles. Their pink pét-nat, Il Tocco di Baal, is a cloudy unfiltered wine made with no added yeast or sulfur, and it will likely be a new experience for most wine drinkers. Fresh and fruity, as well as distinctly savory and mineral, it features notes of citrus and fleshy red fruits, as well as cereal and stony nuances. This is certainly for the curious wine lover, but it is also a perfect segue to wine for the hazy IPA drinker.
Il Tocco di Baal - $20
Any wine from Podere il Saliceto is worth a try, but their pink Sorbara, called Falistra, is something to covet and dream about. One of the palest Lambruscos you'll find, it is rather peachy in flavor, with hints of red fruits, flowers and herbs. Fresh, tart and mineral, with a beautiful sapidity and salinity, this is perfect for summer snacks on a warm evening, though we would say the same for each of the wines described above.
Falistra - $23