Sparkling Wine Made the Natural Way Is 'Brunch in a Glass'

Summer is ending, and rosé is so last season. But if you're still craving something cold and bubbly, Marissa A. Ross, wine editor of Bon Appétit magazine, is here to help. In the fourth episode of Drink Sustainably, a video series produced by eco-friendly clothing brand Reformation, Ross introduces something new for many wine drinkers: bubbly that's made the natural way.

In previous episodes of Drink Sustainably, Ross has shared her considerable knowledge of organic roséhandpicked summer red, and vegan white wine. But when it comes to sparkling wines, she says in the latest episode, there are many ways to make them pop.

"You've got the champagne method, which is the traditional method, where wines go through a second fermentation in the bottle," says Ross. "Then you have the tank method, where wines go through a second fermentation in a tank. And then you've got, like, straight-up adding CO2 to that shit, just pfft."

"And then there's pétillant naturel," she says, after the build-up to the type that makes her smile. Pét-nat is basically just bottling the wine before fermentation is complete and letting the rest of the CO2-producing fermentation occur in the bottle (without added sugar or yeast). After all, it has "the best pet name ever": pét-nat. How have we missed this cuteness?

"Pét-Nat Is the New Rosé," touted Eater in April. Bon Appétit jumped on the trend back in June 2015, saying that pét-nat is "champagne's cool kid sister ... the bubbly you want to party with." And cool it is, a sort of "Russian roulette," as domestic winemaker Onward Wine’s Faith Armstrong-Foster told Bon Appétit.

Pét-nat can be made with red or white grapes, can vary in sweetness, and is "about half the pressure of champagne." So for those who duck when the bubbly is being cracked open, that's a cork coming at your eyes a little more slowly. Although some, including the Donkey & Goat Lily's Cuvée Pétillant Naturel that Ross samples in the video, are screw-top rather than corked. It's easier and less expensive to make, so it has a lower price point than champagne, Bon Appetit also points out, which makes even the less sugary vintages pretty sweet.

Ross has a bit of a love-hate relationship with the chardonnay pét-nat she tries, which is from Mendocino County and made in Berkeley, Calif. It has the "chardonnay creaminess that, like, I sort of hate, but I love in this because it's paired with this delightful zippiness," she says, adding that the taste is "like a lemon pastry," or "lemon ricotta pancakes in a bottle."

But the ultimate winning attribute is that Ross calls it "brunch in a glass." And "you don't even need to go out in the world and wait in line" for it—which is the best kind of brunch.

Sadly, Ross has abandoned the "chug test" and her playful mispronunciations (or overpronunciations) of wine names that were so wonderfully unique in earlier episodes. But when it comes to pét-nat, it's clear most of the fun is in the bottle, anyway.

Watch the fourth episode below:


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