Fight for your Right

Happiness is pet-nat in your glass. “OK, ok, ok, now let’s not get carried away, McConnell,” I hear you say, but still: I love opening and trying these oddball little things. You never really know what you’re in for. Only a few of them can stand alone alongside Champagne or methode sparkling wine, and when they DO, I am generally in awe–but then I ask myself: What’s the point? SHOULD they be as clean, elegant and refined as champagne? Or should they show something entirely different?

Shockingly dark golden in the glass, very insignificant sediment and an initial foam which settles down to steady bubbles. Fruity, tropical thickness in the nose, it smells like Grenache Blanc’s sexy older sister who came home from college over the summer with a hot car and fashionable swagger the high-school girls only dream of. Cellar nuances, musty and dank, chalky loam and buttery almond combine with peach and tomato fruit jammed nicely into the patina of bubbles.

Thick in the mouth as well–I almost want to leave a glass out to go flat and surmise it for pure Grenache-Blanc-ness. The flavor backs up the yellow appearance: this is a heady white wine, writhing with rich, ripe decadence and savory fruit. The intensity of the spritz always plays into the dissection of the fruit, and here, grainy golden nectar runs along Harvest Gold raspberry and Crenshaw melon with a side of petrichor anchoring the bubbles. Ridiculously acidic, it burns bitter and almost tannic in the finish, but again: the carbonation skews these nuances. Achingly dry, all proper margarita and Granny Smith in finality. Some versions of this style are flat-out weird, this one is not. In my experience, there is a definite line between the pet-nat produced by those espousing the “natural wine” arena and those from winemakers who don’t. This one is firmly in the latter. It’s not champagne, but can play pretty close to that sandbox. Find it and love it.

2020 THE GRENACHISTA Grenache Blanc Pet-nat Dry Creek Valley Sonoma Co. 12.8

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