Pet Nat, you might have heard of it, possibly muttered in a slightly gravelly undertone (yet with no lack of earnest) by a rural French farmer as he makes his way towards his stand for Day Two of whichever trade wine show he’s currently peddling his wares at.
But what is it? Basically, the oldest way of making fizzy wine. Before Nuns were making it by accident in Limoux, before a monk with the surname Perignon treated it as a fault and before La Grande Dame invented disgorgement as a process within the traditional, or Champagne, method of creating something sparkling.
It’s made by Daniel Ham, winemaker at Dorset estate Langham, and the bubbles come from leaving a small amount of natural sugar in the juice when bottling which results in spontaneous fermentation and the generation of a small amount of natural, gentle effervescence rather than the full on fizz of traditional method sparkling wines.
The resulting wine is fresh and vivacious with aromas of elderflower, honey, lychee, melon, fermented pear and orange peel which segue into flavours of lemon sherbert, pink grapefruit, salt water, artisan strawberry jam and passion fruit.
All in all, there’s a lot going on but its all perfectly held in harmony by a bracing acidity and bone dry finish owing to the fact that there is not a single gram of resdiual sugar left in the wine, which is about 12 grams per bottle less than Prosecco – just so we’re clear.
I really like this style, particularly in the morning as a Breakfast Bubbly as it works really well as a sharpener, or even to brush my teeth with. It really is that good. So keep calm kids, English fizz at under £20 is a thing, it’s here, we have it, and it’s bloody spectacular.