East Coast wine has been through a lot of changes over the past few decades. It’s been great at times, not-so-great at others. But one thing is constant: We’re searching for an identity.
Some regions may have found their niche – like Virginia Viognier, Long Island Merlot and Finger Lakes Riesling – but many producers (including myself) question if these varieties are always a perfect fit or if marketing teams are just anxious for something to get behind.
The good news is that something new is bubbling in Maryland. It's a style, not a variety. A wine with a true sense of place – made without additives and intervention.
It’s called pét-nat.
If you’ve been following us over the past year, you know we’re ALL IN on pét-nat. Not only because it’s delicious and refreshing, but also because it’s natural and transparent. And it’s a perfect fit for the East Coast where the weather can be inconsistent. Less ripeness is an asset with pét-nat; bright, refreshing bubbles with bracing acidity and just right for a summer table.
Pét-nat is an all-but-forgotten style of sparkling wine that made its debut in France’s Loire Valley half a millennia ago. Unlike it's showy cousin, the Champagne method, which is precise and calculated, pét-nat is wild and spontaneous. That’s why we love it. It should be no wonder that pét-nat is enjoying a revival in America and we plan to keep the party going.
If you’re a cynic like me, you’re thinking: Is pét-nat a fad? I honestly don’t think so. For the same reasons I don’t think organics, or eating local, or avoiding hormone infused livestock are fads. Consumers are seeking transparent products and wine is no exception.
Punch Magazine’s Jon Bonné describes pét-nat as a “tectonic shift away from raised-pinky pretensions to a casual, freestyle era, one that borrows a page or two from the craft beer world.” In another place, Bonné writes, “The gang at Old Westminster, in Maryland, is having almost too much fun with their range of pét-nats, including a beautiful sparkling albariño. (Anyone who doubts that America is, indeed, great again need look no further than a fizzy albariño made outside Baltimore.)”
Curious to learn more? Check out this piece I wrote back in March when we were gearing up the first-ever Maryland pét-nats.
Or you can purchase a bottle of our pét-nat Grüner Veltliner before it’s sold out.
Stay tuned for more, and be on the lookout for many more East Coast producers to jump on the pét-nat train. Pinkies down; glasses up!