Pet-Nat 2020

The Austin Winery

95% Malvasia Bianca, 5% Picpoul - undisgorged, all-native, san soufre, Nogalero & Kubacak Vineyards (respectively), Texas High Plains, big florals, citrus peel, lychee, yellow life savers, mineral.

 

The next vintage of the ever reliable Malvasia Bianca Pét-Nat, now with a little splash of Picpoul and a new look!

This wine gets a little tweak every year as we learn more about the variety and the process. Pét-Nat's are stupid simple but we can always find points of refinement - in this case, when to pick and when to rack.

Our first vintage was hot hot hot, 14+% abv. It was a beyond our intent frankly. But we found a lot of things we loved in the wine: voluminous thick heavy bubbles, amazing integration of big fruity melon-y wine flavors and biscuit-like yeast contributions.

While those points weren't wrong, we chose to rein in some traits year to year. For the 2019, we achieved better acidity and chose to disgorge to find a better balance on the yeast contribution. Still a pét-nat, still hazy, still Malvasia, but less heavy handed.

Cooper is particularly pleased with the tweaks in 2020. We harvested at a significantly lower brix, resulting in higher acid, lower ABV, and brighter flavors. We also blended a little of Picpoul in (his favorite white grape for Texas). We also nailed our yeast crash and settling pre-bottling, leaving us with great carb and moderate sediment; you aren't going to chew it but it will certain transform the wine over time. Short of the long, buy two bottles and see how they change over a couple months!

Technical tangent (long of the short): Yeast autolysis (breakdown) is a concept that every sparkling wine consumer should become familiar with ASAP. After ferment, when the yeast colony starts to starve out, they begin to die and decompose, going through a process called autolysis. You might remember this process from your high school Bio classes, it's basically the way your body cleans out old cells and cell components. There's compounds in cells that are released (by lysosomes) that break up organelles, cell wall, DNA, etc., and release those chunks into suspension. While it might sound strange, those free bits are incredibly important for the development of yeast flavors in sparkling wines as well as building appropriate bubble structure. Without dissolved solids (proteins in particular), sparkling wines would lack body and would lose all of their gas disappointingly quickly. Think about blowing bubbles - you can't blow a bubble with straight water.



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