Never before has the Canadian public been so interested in their food. Television and social media, reflections and drivers of our culture, are brimming with food-focused content. And as the increasing global interconnectedness of the supply chain complicates our relationship to food, people are hungry to simplify: To understand the ingredients in their food, to become familiar with its production and to get to know the people who make it.
The natural wine movement is riding this wave of slow, simple food and coasting its foamy crest is a method of making wine that is as old as it is basic.
Methode ancestrale was traditionally used for the winemaker's wine, resulting in Petillant Naturel, the simplest of wines, made by intuition, ready early and easy to drink.
Pet Nat is made by putting crushed grapes in a clean vessel. And that's pretty much it. Making wine with nothing added—no yeast, no fining (clarifying) agents, no sulfites— necessitates the use of premium, healthy grapes to carry the process through.
At a certain point, the juice that is fermenting—from only the indigenous yeasts existing naturally on the grapes and in the fermenting environment—is put in bottle.
Or, as we in Nova Scotia will see on June 3, in can. Benjamin Bridge, sparkling wine house in the Gaspereau Valley, is releasing its much-anticipated Pet Nat in a 250ml can ($9).
Light blond in colour, Benjamin Bridge's Pet Nat is a hazy result of being unfiltered and unfined. The sensory effect is a surprise if you're expecting a classic light, Nova Scotian white wine, because Pet Nat is loaded with texture. You can actually feel the fruit it comes from, not just smell and taste it. The aromatics are also focused in an interesting place: herbs and lees (spent yeast cells) layered over fresh citrus fruit: The process of making this wine is front and centre.
Benjamin Bridge's Pet Nat is zesty and bright, and finishes entirely dry, with zero residual sugar. The packaging is beautiful, practical and reduces the glass bottle equivalent of this wine's transportation carbon footprint by 20 times.