If you've been looking at natural wine you'll have probably seen the word's Pét-Nat, which refers to naturally sparkling wine, which may have got you thinking - well how is other sparkling wine made?
Below are the two definitions, one of naturally sparkling wine and the method traditional used to make champagne - to help you on your way.
Short for Pétillant Naturel, these are lightly sparkling wines, made in all colours. They are generally low in alcohol, often unfiltered and usually slightly sweet, although dry examples are not uncommon. Generally easy drinking and perfect for an aperitif!
The French name translates as ‘Naturally Sparkling’ as this style requires little human intervention in its production. During the wine’s fermentation, it is bottled before the wine is finished. As alcoholic fermentation also produces CO2, this is trapped in the bottle, in the form of bubbles. Compared to other methods, there are fewer steps in the process, but the lack of human intervention means that there can be variation from bottle to bottle. This is all part of the fun!
Traditional Method and Secondary Fermentation
A sparkling wine production method, made famous by its use in Champagne. In this instance, the bubbles are created inside the bottle itself. It is known for making wines with well-integrated bubbles, richness and often biscuit or bread flavours.
First, a still wine is made by typical means. A mixture of yeast and sugars is then added, and the wine is bottled. The added mix prompts a secondary fermentation in the bottle, producing CO2 as side effect. These are the bubbles that make the wine pop! A certain amount of ageing is usually required at this point, giving the wine extra texture by contact with its natural sediment. To remove this and clarify the wine, the bottle is upended slowly over time, in a process called riddling. The deposit in the neck of the bottle is then removed by disgorgement, when the bottle is popped open and the pressure expels it. Dosage, a mixture of wine and sugar, is then added. This decides the final sweetness of the wine!