Wildman Astro Bunny Pet-Nat 2018
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The Astro Bunny is a playful Pet-Nat by the hands of Tim Wildman, MW. Tim became an MW in 2008 with a Dissertation on Australian wine, which is his professional speciality. He was awarded the Robert Mondavi Memorial prize for the highest score in Theory and his Dissertation achieved the highest pass mark in his year. One of his many interests/businesses is called the James Busby Travel Company, one that takes a B2B approach bringing business minded wine folks from around the globe down to ‘really’ experience Australia. His ‘hype sessions’ are near legendary bringing back changed buyers that officially become disciples not just for Tim, but for Australian wine. It was time spent on one of these trips that brought the idea of making wine, and more importantly pet-nat because he wanted to pick the grapes, make the wine and bottle the wine, all while on a month long trip down under.
While I discussing how to arrange the back label, still with the name “amuse bouche” we kept referring to the label, then the wine as Astro Bunny. I was sitting at my desk looking at a bottle with the images stuck on an empty bottle with sellotape. And it hit me with all the clarity of something that once you see it, you can never see it another way. The name of the wine had to be Astro Bunny. The act of drinking the wine, with the foaming, candy pink, boozy, fruity bubbles made you feel like that bad bunny in her spaceship and want to yell “Fuck Yea”. So the bunny was born.” Tim Wildman
The grapes were handpicked over two days, the Nero d’Avola and Vermentino coming in on the most romantic picking day of the year, Valentine’s Day, while the ‘not so loved’ Zibibbo was taken on the 15th. The grapes were immediately transferred to a newly designed chill room built on the vineyard. They were delivered (extra-cold) to the winery in the Adelaide Hills the following morning. The Nero d’Avola and Vermentino were destemmed and pressed immediately upon arrival while the Zibibbo was lightly crushed and given 24 hours of skin contact prior to being pressed, this really stabilizes the extraction of aromatics. The pink juice was transferred to a tank and the temperature dropped down to encourage settling of gross lees prior to the alcoholic ferment beginning. For the first time, Tim managed to rack the juice off of the gross lees prior to fermentation, something he has tried to do in the past but has failed. Doing this prior to ferment really provides a cleaner fermentation, thus resulting in more pristine and fruitier flavours. Fermentation occurred without any additions and the tanks were progressively chilled slowing fermentation and promoting tartrate stabilization. (This is often a flaw of pét-nats as they can ‘gush’ and need to be hand disgorged due to the tartrates being unstable. Tim would rather ‘fix’ it with chilling prior to bottling than ‘fix’ it afterwards with disgorging. It was bottled with 12 grams of residual sugar with the aim of hitting 10 grams and 2-3 bars of pressure, which he nailed this year.
Tim Wildman’s Astro Bunny Pet-Nat is pale candy pink, with aromas of strawberries and cream with soft, persistent foam, flavours of peach and nectarine in a light body that has refreshing, watermelon-like wetness and a bone-dry drinkability. Shake before opening, serve cold, recommended drinking location: park or beach.
By The Bottle