Tour des Gendres, Pet Nat


Delightful naturally sparkling wine from Bergerac. Pet Nat’s, in The Gallery, replaced all but the finest Prosecco’s on my shelves, and have done so for years now. Interestingly enough I know that one importer couldn’t shift this back in the day as no-one knew what it was, now all the ‘cool kids’ are drinking it, making it and we’re seeing a foray into cross-over ferments with hops, ciders, and all kinds of mischief – brilliant!

This is a joyful wine to be enjoyed at breakfast if that’s the craic or even watching the sunset on the veranda (or in my case, sat by a fire after a nice surf, watching the stars).

Petillant Naturel, or Pet Nat for short, is a sparkling wine made in the ‘methode ancestrale’, which is to say, bottle with residual sugar which then continues to ferment in the bottle, finishing relatively dry with pleasantly frothy bubbles. This is wonderfully drinkable, and a natural progression for Prosecco drinkers looking for something a little more interesting while still being easy and fun to drink.

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Luc de Conti is a wonderful character and one of the finest wine-makers of his generation, he feels passionately for his wines, his 54-ha vineyard, and his Bergerac region. Luc is looking for purity and intensity in his wines, relentlessly searching to reach the maximum potential of each vintage.

Viticulture is biodynamic, the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. Yields are low, 5 to 6 bunches per vine, manual picking, and selection of ripe and healthy grapes are essential; on the top cuvées there are several ‘tries in the vineyard, and the wine will only be released if it reaches the highest of standards. The blends will also change according to the physiological ripeness of the grapes. In recent vintages, Luc’s wines are losing in the extraction and gaining in tension, balance and tend to drink younger, although, for all intents and purposes, this is a great seller to customers in their 70’s too.