Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Luscious Jura Pet'Nat From Octavin

The light sparkling wine called petillant naturel--nicknamed pet-nat or pet'nat--is in my view the best drink for summer. Lighter and fruitier than Champagne, a great pet'nat is everything, and fun, too. It is the perfect bbq wine, picnic wine, patio wine, pizza wine. Pet'nat should be your bff, especially in the summer.

Pet'nat is naturally made, without the fuss of Methode Champagnois. The wine is simply allowed to finish fermentation inside the bottle, rather than in the tank or barrel, trapping the CO2 gas that's produced by fermentation inside the bottle, thus creating a fizzy wine. The amount of fizz or pressure is about half that of Champagne, hence pet'nat is delicate, oftentimes off-dry, and usually delicious and refreshing. The natural flavors of grape juice are still fresh and lively. pet'nats are fun and easy to enjoy.

The best pet'nat I've come across these days is the one made by Domaine de l'Octavin in the Jura. Called "Foutre d'Escampette", it is 100% Chardonnay grown in the La Mailloche vineyards in Arbois. La Mailloche is reputed to be one of the best sites for Chardonnay in the Jura. Recently, the Domaine the Marquis d'Angerville from Burgundy bought a parcel there.

Octavin is owned and run by the young winemaking couple, Alice Bouvot and Charles Dagand. They farm their vineyards organically and biodynamically. No sulfites or any additives are applied to their wines. They also don't fine and filter, so sediments are always present in their wines, a proof of purity. This pet'nat was vinified whole-cluster and bottled while still fermenting. Delicate with just 11.5% alcohol, yet its off-dry fruity flavors are delicious and brimming with fresh energy.

Domaine de l'Octavin is small but their wines are highly sought after and appear on wine lists of some of the most progressive wine bars and restaurants in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, including Noma in Copenhagen (voted best restaurant in the world), and in Japan.

I'm pleased to say Vineyard Gate is one of the few stores in the country to regularly stock Domaine de l'Octavin wines.

Vin de France "Foutre d'Escampette", Domaine de l'Octavin NV $29.00 (order here)

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