Les Capriades Pét-Sec NV
Wine: Les Capriades 'Pet-Sec'
Region: Touraine, Loire Valley
Grapes: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc
Pét-nat, abbreviated from pétillant naturel, is the original sparkling wine that came about quite by accident. It translates to 'naturally sparkling' and is also known as the méthode ancestrale. In the Champagne or Traditional method, still dry wines that have finished fermentation are dosed with a mixture of yeast and sugar, then sealed under bottle cap, trapping the byproduct CO2 as the yeasts eat the sugar and turn it into alcohol. With pét-nat, the first fermentation is the only fermentation. Any residual sugar is natural grape sugar, as opposed to the added sugar that gives most sparkling wines their hint of sweetness. As a result, these wines are lighter in alcohol than Champagne or crémant, cava and other sparkling wines. Les Capriades is considered among the best, which is evident upon first taste. It's damn delicious.
Best buds Pascal Potaire and Moses Gaddouche make a handful of these sparkling gems - about 3,000 cases annually - in the Touraine region in the Loire Valley, next door to Anjou. Grapes are hand-harvested and carefully sorted, discarding any fruit that isn't pristine. While most pét-nats have some sweetness to them, this one does not, hence it's a pét-sec, sec meaning 'dry' in French.
Les Capriades Pét-Sec NV is made from chenin blanc and a touch of cabernet franc, pale yellow in color with soft mousse and beautiful nose of fruit and stone. More mineral and orchard fruit with hints of honey on the palate and an incredibly long, tasty finish.