What is petnat and how does it look in Moldova

In Lima, this method was called methode ancestrale ("the method of ansestral", or "the method of ancestors"). It appeared due to the fact that wine from the white Mozac grape variety (one of its synonyms is Blanket), bottled after fermentation in the cold season, resumed fermentation due to the sugar and yeast remaining in it with the onset of warm weather. Since carbon dioxide is formed during fermentation, when pouring wine into a glass, it creates the play and foam that we see in ordinary sparkling wines. The only difference is that in "petnata" spent yeast remains in the wine, they are not removed, so the wine is not crystal clear. And the pressure in the bottles is lower (about two atmospheres instead of four or five), since only part of the fermentation has passed in them. Due to this, the bubbles are slightly larger than in traditional sparkling wine, and their play is usually shorter.

Blanquette methode ancestrale is produced to this day, however, already as an AOC (region of controlled denomination). But now this is done, of course, more technologically. Wine ferments at a controlled temperature in containers. Now the fermentation is specially stopped by cold, and the wine material is bottled without the addition of sulfites and cultural yeast (as in the production of traditional sparkling wine). Then fermentation resumes in bottles. Exposure on the lees lasts several months (at least two). Wine, as in ancient times, is released for sale with sediment, so it is cloudy. Since the sediment is not removed and the corks are not replaced, petnats enter the market sealed with crown corks (beer corks).

This method has also been appreciated by other French winemakers. And in the 1990s, Christian Chaussard from the Loire came up with the name for the wines produced in this way - pét-nat, abbreviating pétillant naturel.

The first "petnats" in Moldova appeared thanks to the experiments of the winemaker Vladlen Uzhakov, the founder of the Vinum Estate winery. On Wine Day 2019, they were shown to the general public (Sauvignon Blanc), then a batch of Riesling was released. Three types of petnats were produced from the 2020 harvest - Sauvignon Blanc (240 bottles), Chardonnay (about 300) and Feteasca Regală (200). Part of the unfermented wort in tanks at sub-zero temperatures will wait for spring to make fresh “petnat” from it. The winemaker has not yet decided whether he needs to increase the volume of this new wine for our market or not.

Once there was a tasting at which I presented three types of "petnats", - says the author of the wines. - There were a lot of people who just didn’t know me, and they didn’t come across this type of sparkling wine. For myself, I concluded that this product is not in demand by everyone. He is quite specific. At the same time, “petnats” are in vogue in Europe, in Russia, but in order to treat it correctly, you need to be prepared.

Some people imagine sparkling wine only as transparent and sparkling. And “petnat” has a great fresh aroma, but it does not have this festive transparency. Our Chardonnay is almost transparent, and Feteasca Regală is rather cloudy, i.e. these wines contain ready-made yeast - this is the meaning of "petnata". If a person's expectations do not match what they see, they may be disappointed. Therefore, I believe that there is no need to increase this product to large batches. In addition, as a small manufacturer, I cannot produce a lot for technical reasons, there are power limitations.

Being on a store shelf, petnat will be different in two or three months. If stored at a low temperature, it will change only after six months. It does not have an expiration date like live beer, it just changes its aroma, which goes from fresh, fruity-floral to more classic, characteristic of sparkling wine, aged with yeast. There are samples that I made three years ago. Their bouquet is similar to sparkling wine, aged 9-12 months on yeast lees. It has the aroma of toasted bread crust, creamy tone, but no fruity freshness. My idea for this product is to drink it fresh, so the batches are small. When the game ends, I think about doing the next one.

According to the winemaker, this work is not easy, as it may seem - he just poured the evil into bottles and that's it. Each bottle has been in his hands many times. It is necessary to do the same work as with classic sparkling wine - remuage (manually on music stands) and in some cases - disgorgement. Vladlen made the equipment to freeze the neck (there is a "know-how" that is kept secret). However, not all parties are disgorged. For example, Sauvignon Blanc in 2020 is heavy, the wort turned out to be thick and hard to clarify. Therefore, in two "petnats" the disgorgement was done, but in one it was not.

It is also important when the batch was produced. If fermentation in the bottle is resumed immediately after the season, then there is a lot of sediment in these “petnats”. And if unkind in containers with a "jacket" is in the cold, then the wine material is clarified itself. In these parties, it will no longer be necessary to do disgorgement. For the spring, only Chardonnay and Feteasca Regală were left as more perlya varieties.

I leave part of the sediment in bottles on purpose, says Vladlen. - If you kept them in the music stands for three to four months longer, then the sediment would go away completely. But I release "petnat" at the stage when it is still with sediment, because it has its own taste, its own aroma, its own charm, a different density. Therefore, we named our "petnats" from Vinum Estate Spumant Viu. The beauty of this drink is that we get sparkling with the freshest fruit and floral varietal aromas. "Petnat" is a fast consumption drink. Since yeast remains in the bottle, after a while the aroma from fresh passes into the aromas of classic champagne - almonds, toasts. Despite the fact that in some batches we do disgorgement and reduce the number of yeast cells, we still recommend drinking petnat within six months.

When poured, the “petnat” froth well, and the foam ring persisted for a long time. The wine is flesh-colored, opaque. In the first nose there is a fresh, bright aroma of grape berries. Then came the aromas of duchess candies, fresh apple, and a hint of citrus. "Bombic" in its brightness. In the second glass, exotic fruits and a shade of currant leaf were added.

On the palate - grape berry with citrus zest, minerality. This petnata has a fairly dense body for white wines. In the aftertaste - citrus zest and a hint of almonds. The alcohol content is 12.5%.

This wine is distinguished by a longer game, and a longer retention of the foam ring. Color - light straw, with a greenish tinge, almost perfectly transparent wine, even with shine.

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