The new wave of natural wines has brought back to the scene after decades of oblivion, the “petnat”, a name that derives from the French PETillant – NATurelle and which defines wines whose second fermentation takes place directly in the bottle, developing alcohol and carbon dioxide. This method is also called the “Ancestral Method” and requires that the wine is not filtered or disgorged and keeps its yeasts inside the bottle; for this reason these type of wines are also called “sur lie”.
It is a very ancient and artisanal production method that peasant families used for the production of their own wine; in a time where the harvests were later than the current ones, even in late October or November, and alcoholic fermentation stopped with the winter cold, leaving residual sugar, which refermented with the first spring warmth after bottling, generating a dry and sparkling wine.
Petnats are wines with a low alcohol content, usually between 10 and 12 degrees, very enjoyable and drinkable, fresh and thirst-quenching where one glass leads to another. They are integral, pure wines, because they do not undergo corrections or retouches; wines without barriers, without recipes, without shortcuts.
A real movement has now established itself in Europe capturing the attention of a younger customer base who habitually consumed craft beers.
There are shops dedicated only to natural wines with a huge section for petnat; there are even some “petnat bars” opening in Europe. Today the petnat are starting to be served also in the best restaurants in the world.
Even Croatia has started to produce petnat, thanks to the courage and initiative of some producers; the first very successful experiment was made by Tomislav Tomac who proposed last year the first “made in Croatia” petnat obtained from biodynamic agriculture and grapes Graševina. Tomac is probably the best Croatian producer of sparkling wines but he is also an authentic pioneer in Croatian oenology having been among the first to start working with amphorae. The beautiful blue label of his petnat bottle was also designed by Tomislav and his wife Martina and it is dedicated to their dachshund “pet” Hugo.
In 2020 Tomac has produced 1200 bottles that are now almost impossible to find, for next year it has promised an increase in production and the release of a second petnat, this time rosé … we can’t wait to taste it.
The hope is that other Croatian producers will understand that the future of enology is changing rapidly. More and more people are approaching the world of organic and biodynamic and, if in Croatia there are now dozens of OPGs following this new “green line” of production, the same cannot be said for wine.
It must be hoped that the phenomenon of natural wines will soon also involve bars and restaurants; sectors where research of the best and healthiest raw material is now almost an obligation, but where the drink’s offer is often linked to traditional wines and the wine list appears boring and not fitting properly with increasingly imaginative menus. https://www.tomac.hr https://naturavini.com/artist/tomac/