Szóló Winery in Tállya is known for its adventurous spirit and exciting wines. Winemaker Tímea Éless has a special knack for finding the right balance between traditional Tokaj technology and up-to-date cutting edge styles. The latest result of her experiments is a pét-nat called boogie.
Pétillant naturel a.k.a. pét-nat is a kind of sparkling wine. It has a long history dating back to the 17th century so it is by no means a new technology. However recent years have seen a huge upturn in its popularity both among winemakers and customers.
The resurgance of pét-nat has coincided with the rise of the natural wine movement.
Unlike in the case of champagne or prosecco there are no strict regulations which producers must adhere to, it can be made in any region, can be fermented in oak, steel or even amphorae, and there is ample room for winemakers to experiment with vinification and even various grape varieties.
Pét-nat is produced in the méthode ancestral, a simple but quite risky technology. The wine is bottled prior to fully completing its first fermentation, allowing alcohol and carbon dioxide to be produced by the natural sugars found in the grapes, so that eventually bubbles emerge in the bottle. Once bottled the wine is left to its own devices, free to follow its own route. Pét-nat is typically produced by leaving the wine on its lees, so it looks a bit opaque with texture and aromas being quite different and excitingly unusual compared to „traditional” wines.
„Once again it was my husband who came up with a new idea and suggested one morning that we should give pét-nat a try”, says Tímea Éless.
„We consider the 800 bottles produced as an experiment. We firmly believe in furmint, and were curious to see what it would turn out like when vinified this way. I’m delighted that in the end we have successfully added a very special item to our sortiment.”
The raw material for ’boogie’ the new pét-nat was provided by grapes grown in the Dukát-vineyard displaying excellent acidity. Pressing was even gentler than ever before, and then the must was racked into a 15 hl tank where it fermented without added yeast. Sugar and alcohol levels were constantly monitored because preliminary calculations have established that 16 gramms of sugar were required for the desired pressure to build in the bottles. When optimal levels were reached, stirring was avoided, instead the bottles were filled from the bottom of the tank in order to feed the yeast with extra amount of lees thereby assisting fermentation.
The wine’s presentation is intentionally out of the ordinary though it has a practical side as well.
Each bottle is placed upside down in a cardboard cylinder. Customers can decide whether they want to stir up gently the lees or to remove the sediment accumulated in the neck of the bottle. It’s a matter of individual taste but should you opt for either shaking or „disgorgement” it is advisable to submerge the bottle in water when opening because of the great pressure.
Pét-nat is a category known for its lighthearted playfulness and this is what Szóló Winery intends its customers to be engaged in. Boogie is the kind of wine where one glass is never enough. Sometimes not even a whole bottle.