y life change happened as a result of flinging the doors open to Come What May—going to dinner with a man I’d never met before.
“I hate rosé,” I told him. He gently suggested that maybe I didn’t. Had I ever tried pét nat, he asked. (Pét nat is short for pétillant natural, the French term for punchy wines with naturally occurring bubbles.) Our subsequent order of a Chenin Blanc pét nat catapulted me into an unfamiliar wine landscape, one that was lush and ripe.
The evening I tried pét nat for the first time cracked opened my wine world. What revealed itself was wine with personality, with charisma. Bottles—labeled biodynamic, organic, or natural—I couldn’t help but buy when I saw them on the shelf.
Gone are the days of desiring the same bottle over and over again, thrown into the shopping cart alongside pantry staples—and with it, the same experience. Natural wines keep my attention, ever welcoming me into a world of Come What May.
J. Brix 2017 Cobolorum Riesling Pet Nat
$50, GB&D (provided by Curated Selections), 1269 Pendleton St
These “Naughty Goblin Bubbles,” named after the Latin for goblin and the bottle’s tendency to effervesce, have a near-constant presence at GB&D. Go try these bubbles on Thursday night, when all bottles of wine are half price.
Kelley Fox 2017 Pinot Blanc
$33, Wine House, 475 Haywood Rd #8
A stunner from the Willamette Valley, this Pinot Blanc is quintessential summer drinking. Bone dry with refreshing minerality and acidity.
Domaine Huet 2014 Vouvray
$66, The Anchorage, 586 Perry Ave
This unique expression of the Chenin Blanc varietal will zip across your palette—crisp and elegant—with notes of ripe pears and sweet spice.
Pax Trousseau Gris Rosé
$25, The Community Tap, 217 Wade Hampton Blvd
Yes, the color might perplex you (wine can be a deep pink!), but your mouth will thank you for this skin-contact wine, bright with plum, lychee, and spice.
Cruse 2017 Monkey Jacket Red Blend
$30, The Community Tap, 217 Wade Hampton Blvd
On the trying-new-things scale, Monkey Jacket is trying a new shade of lipstick. It’s got the thrill of a new experience, but is totally low key.
RAW Organic Rosé
$13.50, Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery, 205 Cedar Lane Rd
This unfiltered, spontaneously fermented Spanish rosé is the perfect accompaniment to your impulsive summer adventures ahead.
Biodynamic Wine – Wines harvested and vinified using holistic farming practices—no chemicals, harvesting with the lunar calendar, no filtering. Look for the Demeter certification on labels to note the use of biodynamic practices.
Natural Wine – The most elusive and debated wine term of all—mostly because its definition varies depending on whom you ask. These wines likely have organic grapes, use biodynamic practices, and have as little intervention as possible. Think of them as nothing added, nothing removed.
Pétillant Naturel, or Pét Nat – A winemaking style used to create some sparkling wines; can be referred to as ancestral method. Wines are bottled while still fermenting so that the natural CO2 is captured.
Skin-Contact Wines – Wines created with white grapes that still have their skins on, the same way red wines are made. Occasionally called orange wine, they are named for the color a wine can appear after spending time, sometimes hours sometimes days, with the skin of grapes (ranging from pale off-white to deep, golden orange or salmon).
No Added SO2 – Wines with no added sulfur, which can be added to maintain freshness and to allow for long-term aging. It’s good to remember that all wines contain sulfites, a natural byproduct of fermentation, but not all have added sulfur.