Moving through some pet-nat tonight… These things are the new rosé in the cellar: everyone’s making one, everyone’s quite proud of them, they all want me to taste them, but they BREED downstairs–I swear–and suddenly I have a rack FULL of crown-caps of various colors and levels of sediment. I DO enjoy trying them, and a Saturday afternoon is a perfect time to pop a few and blitzkrieg some brief notes. Bottom line: they just AREN’T what I am going to open for dinner and serious review. That’s just a fact of life. Also, I have a hard time sharing them–unless I do it blind (which is basically impossible with the tell-tale closure)–as eyes roll and pre-disposed opinions instantly surface around classic sparkling and Champagne drinkers. To the 99, pet-nat is the POSTER CHILD of *natural wine*, an illusion not completely erroneous, but effective in chilling appeal.
Dusty Nabor’s 2021 Grenache Rosé from the marvelous Spear Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills is his freshman effort, and it shows elegant and clean in packaging AND in the glass. Hardly any sediment, clean and foamy on pour with zero following streams. Light yellow, slightly opaque, a toasty nose heady with effervescent petrichor, yellow-pages and pear/melon. Extremely Mott’s and Martinelli’s in taste–but NOT *cider-y*. The apple rich and sweet, filling a body chewy in texture with points of acid prodding it toward a round, full finish thick with ripe fruit and bitter herb. 13.0 ABV
Deux Punx’s 2020 ‘All City Meat’ California Sparkling Piquette runs the opposite direction in terms of visual elegance. Creamy orange-pink with plentiful sediment-bombs rising and falling in the bottle. Stupidly floral in nose, tropical, lavish with sweetness, an almost-muscat decadence combining pure orange juice and buttery pineapple with slight cellar-floor and wet sawdust. Nearly *red wine* in texture, the entry a spritely melange of rich red fruit boosted with kiwi and nutty pineapple. A foamy rim continuously propagates; a touch more *cider* on this one, with herbaceousness a syrupy affair. 7.7 ABV
THE GRENACHISTA 2019 Dry Creek Valley Grenache Blanc shows an even THIRD version of these unique sparklers: deep amber in the glass though near-crystal-clear with slight sediment–and the only one with trails after pour. Austere and ridiculously ‘champagne’ in bouquet, a toasty almond, neutral barrel, lees-aggrandized aged creaminess coated in butter and savory apricot and green banana pith. Explosive–in both new foam and rich fruit–on the tongue, it has integrated CO2 deep in the body, something which injects plentiful apple, plum and peach into every orifice like honey-butter on cornbread. Sharp throughout palate, the finish a powerhouse of dusty floral and sparkling energy. 12.8 ABV
Which one is for you?