If you love Champagne, you know there are many different kinds of sparkling wine. A Pétillant Naturel is a sparkling wine made in the Méthode Ancestrale, as opposed to the Méthode Champenoise.
Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, is an even more ancient way to make sparkling wine than the widely-used méthode champenoise (also called méthode traditionelle) originated in Champagne, France. In the méthode ancestrale, the wine is bottled with a crown cap before it even finishes its first fermentation, so it develops carbon dioxide as it goes. It’s not disgorged, often unfiltered, and can be made from any grape variety.
Pét-Nats are fun and popular, because they are easier and cheaper to make than traditional sparkling wines made in the Champagne method. Winemakers can try new varieties and experiment with different styles using this method, and it produces some very different and interesting sparklers.
But at Dunites Wine Co, owners Tyler and Rachel Eck have made a beautiful, traditional-style sparkling wine, even though it’s from the ancestrale method. It’s a blend of traditional Champagne grapes: 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, both fully from the San Luis Obispo Coast AVA. This is a perfect place for sparkling wine grapes, as the weather here is much colder than that of hotter areas like Napa Valley or Paso Robles.
Tyler has been making wine many places, most recently Fess Parker Winery, which has its own superb Fesstivity Sparkling Wine program, and Rachel is a viticulturist with many vineyards and harvests under her belt. They source grapes from some of the top vineyards throughout the SLO Coast, and now produce Albarino, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah.
But don’t forget the Bubbles! Head to their bright and airy tasting room in downtown SLO before they’re all gone.
See more! There are over 75 sparkling wine producers in San Luis Obispo County.