Finally! A winemaker that just tells me what to pair with his wine. It really does make it so much easier, but these fresh Pet Nats from Gilbert Family Wines are already very food friendly and easy to pair.
What is Pet Nat?
You may have seen wine bottles topped with a bottle cap like a Coca-Cola instead of a cork. This is an indicator of pet nat wines that are recently coming into vogue as the latest hipster induced trend.
Here are some quick facts about pet nat wines:
- Pet Nat stands for pétillant natural or naturally sparkling wines.
- Made via method ancestral that predates Champagne
- Captures naturally produced carbon dioxide when wine is initially made
- Instead of letting those bubbles naturally disappear and escape into air, the winemaker traps the CO2 in the bottle.
- Usually has sediment at the bottom of the bottle from residual sugar and yeast cells.
- May be slightly sweet and cloudy in appearance
- Also known as glou-glou wines that you gulp-gulp, since they go down so easily.
Source: Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé by Victoria James
Food Pairing with Pet Nats
Because pet nat wines are so drinkable on their own, they don't necessarily need food companions. However, I was lucky enough to happen upon two Pet Nats from Gilbert Family Wines, with tech sheets that had food pairing suggestions.
Unlike back of the bottle suggestions that tend to be fairly general (pork, fish, beef etc.), these were more specific and simple enough to make at home (thus matching the ease of the wine).
Pet Nat Rosé with Japanese Salmon Bellies
The Gilbert Wines 2019 Pet Nat Rosé is made from 100% Sangiovese and has flavors of watermelon, almond, and citrus with a fine bead and slight chalkiness.
The grapes were grown in the wine region of Mudgee, Australia. Located more than 500 meters above sea level, it "produces grapes that are more savory and structure in style," per the winery.
While they recommended pairing with smoked trout, salmon is the more local seafood choice in Northern California. I soaked some bellies in a simple Japanese marinade of soy sauce, sake, and mirin and roasted until they sizzled.
The little bubbles in the pet nat matched nicely with all the fat in then bellies and the slight tannins in the rosé did give the wine a nice structure and mouthfeel too.
Pet Nat Riesling with Green Chicken Curry
For the 2019 Pet Nat Riesling, the winery recommended pairing with a Thai Green Chicken Curry, and I happily obliged.
With bright lemon and lime notes with a touch of citrus skin and pith, the fizz in the Riesling contrasted nicely with the lush coconut cream, spicy chiles, and green herbs in the curry paste.
This Riesling is from Orange, the highest wine growing region in Australia that has cool nights and over 9 hours of sunshine a day.
Gilbert Family Wines
Gilbert Family Wines was started in 2004 by 5th generation winemaker, Simon Gilbert. His son, Will Gilbert, soon joined the family business, and the father-son team work together as co-winemakers.
Their tasting room is located in Mudgee located 3.5 hours from Sydney. They source grapes from vineyards in Mudgee, Orange, and South Eden of Australia.
While keeping the heritage of their winemaking family history, they are also pushing the boundaries of new Australian wines with modern experimentation and innovation such as with pet nat and skin contact wines.
Takeaways for drinking Pet Nat wines
- Pet Nats can be drunk clear or cloudy, depending on preference, and whether you like to gently roll the bottle to distribute the sediment on the bottom.
- They don't have bubbles so much as a light fizz.
- They can be drunk alone or with most anything since they are so forgiving and friendly.
Learn More about Pet Nat Wines
Check out these excellent posts on pet nat wines from the #winepw writers:
Linda from My Full Wine Glass shares “A Fresh, Fruity Zweigelt Pet-Nat Perfect for Fish”
Jane of Always Ravenous discovers that she enjoys “Tasting and Pairing Pet-Nat Sparkling Wine”
Susannah at Avvinare shares “Blanquette de Limoux Paired with Salmon over Orzo”
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Unexpected Pairings for a Pet-Nat Duo from Donkey & Goat: Coconut Beef Curry and Holiday Cookies”
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator pairs “2 Biodynamic Loire Pet Nats: Free Mousse and Bulle Nature #WinePW”
Nicole from Somm's Table has an “Around the World Pet Nat Party”
Lauren from The Swirling Dervish explains “Pairings for Pet-Nat from Near (NY) and Far (Czech Republic)”
Cindy from Grape Experiences share “Soalheiro Espumante Bruto Nature 2016: A Versatile, Complex Pét-Nat of Alvarinho”
Related Australian Wine Posts
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