A.J. Hoadley of La Violetta makes no less than four pét-nats, with the ‘Patio’ a joyous mix of muscat and riesling, full of pink grapefruit and rosewater with softly textured generosity matched with exuberant freshness.
With a dusty pink and hazy appearance, this pét-nat is made up of muscat and riesling from Geographe. The aromas are lifted and fragrant, with notes of pink grapefruit, guava, rosewater, smashed red apples and a hint of fresh mint. A creamy wave of fizz carries a textural wine, with a tilt towards softly delivered ease underscored by a gently chewy structure of pithy grip, with the flavours echoing long through the finish.
Themes of this wine
Pétillant naturel (pét-nat) or méthode ancestrale is an ancient approach to making sparkling wine, with the primary ferment finishing in bottle to create the bubbles, with the result usually simpler and brighter than a wine made with the Champagne method. These styles all but disappeared, but were revived in France in the 1990s – when the term pétillant naturel was coined – as a cornerstone of the developing natural wine movement, which they are still strongly associated with.
The region of Geographe sits up against its more famous neighbour, Margaret River, with their shared border just west of Busselton. Geographe hugs the coast extending north up to Preston Beach, with Bunbury about the midpoint. Shiraz takes the lead with plantings, with chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, semillon and sauvignon coming more-or-less equal second place.
The muscat family of grapes is a very large one, with perhaps muscat of alexandria, muscat blanc à petits grains and muscat giallo the most famous. The thing that links all the varieties – they can be green, pink or almost black in hue – is a very aromatic, floral and grapey aroma, which veers towards the exotic, making it an ideal candidate for dessert wine. Muscat varieties contribute to notable styles in Southern France, such as Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, as well as Italy, where moscato bianco (muscat blanc à petits grains) is responsible for Moscato d’Asti.
Riesling is one of the world’s most versatile grapes, capable of making styles from aridly dry to lusciously sweet, plus everything in between, and with a transparency that reflects where it was grown like few – if any – other grapes. Hailing from Germany, it’s equally embedded in France and Austria, while the style made famous in the Clare Valley that once defined Australian versions has now been joined by a multitude of expressions, and from right across the country.