Whenever I hear Pétillant-naturel, methode ancestrale, Pét-nat, or even Peneče, I don’t immediately think Loire, I think Berkeley. Back in 2011 while working harvest for Donkey and Goat Winery, this was the first year they made Lily’s Pét-nat. Leading up to this, I remember experiments of filling up beer bottles by hand with rough estimates of what would happen post crown cap (residual sugar, yeast populations etc…). Often, while doing other winery work, bottles could be heard exploding like distant artillery fire. It was during this time I really got a sense for what gross lees smell, taste and feel like. Eventually, they figured it out and I discovered how great wines like this could be as well.
For Blue Danube, it was only a matter of time before the huge array of Central/Eastern European high acid grapes would eventually lend themselves to the oldest way of making sparkling wine. Štoka was the first to lead the charge with Teran and Vitovska from the Kras appellation in Slovenia.
Tadej and Primož Štoka already produced a traditional method cave aged sparkling Teran. They knew Teran had the acidity and balance but had to reverse engineer a few things for a pét-nat. The Vitovska on the other hand, was usually skin-macerated and often with whole berries in barrel for up to 10 months. That said, the parent grapes are Glera (aka Prosecco) and Malvasia Bianca. There’s been talk of some sparkling wines made from both. With a few vintages behind the Štoka family, we are happy to have the 2017s to share with you.
The Vitovska has some tropical hints but is then intensely herbal, stony and dry. Makes me want to eat Jota – think Slovenian bean, pork and Sauerkraut hotpot. The Teran Rosé is similar to the Marasca Cherry orchards surrounding the vineyards. Tart, bright and yet still ripe. The Teran is the destroyer of all things bloody. Rare meats, charcuterie, and of course blood sausage to name a few. They are great compliments to the increasing range of Pét-nats from around the world.
Speaking of sparkling wines from around the world, I’ll end with a shameless plug for two other favorites. From Tokaj, Kikelet‘s 2013 Pezsgő Brut (100% Hárslevelű). One of the very few grower producers of traditional method wines in the whole appellation. Volcanic, bright and unique. From Somló, Kreinbacher has a traditional method Brut and lower dosage Prestige from certified organic and basalt ridden vineyards. Smoke, stone fruit and harnessing the acidity of Furmint.