A note on Pét Nat
Méthode Ancestrale is a method of sparkling wine production used all over the world. Unlike creation of sparkling wines via the traditional Méthode Champenoise, where sugar and yeast are added to still wines to trigger secondary fermentation and produce bubbles, Pét Nat works by bottling wine that is only partially fermented. This handmade wine is crafted in a heritage style with careful monitoring and attention to the fermentation process. Temperatures, sugars and gentle manual agitations are applied to get this just right. Fermentation takes place slowly, ensuring all flavors of the fruit can be expressed.
Disgorgement is a technique used in sparkling wine production that involves removing a frozen pellet of spent yeast cells (lees) from the neck of the wine bottle after fermentation. Disgorging allows the winemaker to remove the lees without sacrificing the pristine sparkling wine left behind. Wine producers typically disgorge by freezing the bottle’s neck and quickly extracting the solids. The Pét-Nat process predates the invention of Champagne by more than two centuries.
“Let’s Party” was crafted by hand with this ancient sparkling wine process, Méthode Ancestral. The result was a this feisty, young, fruit forward, low tannin, playful way of revisiting the past. Full cluster fermentation. Cherry notes on the palette. Orange blossom, Indian baking spices, high-tone cherry, dusty tannins on the finish. A delightful wine.
Pét-Nat Pinot Noir | 2020
Russian River Valley
Harvest date | 9/11/2020
100% neutral oak
Slow fermented (over 5 weeks very cold 52-57 degrees)
Case production 34.
The winemaking process
This second wine from the CAST Creative Lab is unlike any we have produced. We started with some stellar grapes, Bacigalupi Family Pinot Noir, and got a little crazy, combining two very old and traditional processes, one after the other.
First, the Saignee! While crafting our popular and delicious Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, we typically “bleed off” just a little bit of the juice from the tank of fermenting must. This leaves a higher skin-to-juice ratio for the main tank during fermentation, giving us the desired concentration and richness we seek in that wine. The French call this Saignee, literally translated as “to bleed”, and it leaves us with a rose colored bi-product wine, typically just used for “topping”.
The second step is to separate this curated juice using the ancient Methode Ancestral process where it continues to ferment, and is bottled during this stage of development, trapping CO2 and producing bubbles. The last step is to riddle sediment into the neck of the bottle, freeze it and disgorge the ice “plug.”
All of this is done by hand, so very time consuming and labor intensive. But the result, a delicious Pétillant Naturel of Pinot Noir (frequently referred to as a “Pét Nat”) is worth it. If we hadn’t already committed these bottles, we probably would have just kept them for ourselves.
This bright and dry fruit forward wine is ready to drink now. Its fizzy dry palette is perfect while guests are arriving on a warm evening: a delicious aperitif that gets the party started. Perfect in a Champagne glass for brunch, or in a plastic fizzio glass for a spirited lunch or picnic. Served chilled.
Label design notes.
The team first explored and considered the personalities of the wines to develop a “mood board” that visually communicates the aspects of the wine’s flavors and the essence of the experience. We wanted these labels to include one element of the CAST brand. In this case, we included the Grey Palm, a favorite part of the CAST landscape in the party area we call “The Beach.” This Pét-Nat Pinot spoke to us as female, feisty-fun and playful. Maybe not the girl you bring home to meet mom, but the one you’ll definitely dance the night away with – the life of the party.
From the mood board came the final label design and the idea that this trusty old grape varietal can still surprise us and bring us this spirited, effervescent, one-of-a-kind, super-rare wine, only for the adventurous and open minded. See more about the CAST Creative Lab Label design process here – Label Designs and the CAST Creative Lab. This wine will be rereleased into our main assortment summer, 2022.