Wildman Heavy Petting Pet-Nat 2018
The Heavy Petting Pet Nat is the wild creation of notable Master of Wine, Tim Wildman. 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. The grapes were handpicked over two days, the Nero d’Avola 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.
Three-fourths of the Nero d’Avola was destemmed and pressed immediately upon arrival with a fourth remaining intact. The whole bunches were placed at the bottom of the tanks and the co-fermented destemmed portion and the Zibibbo were added on top. 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.
Wildman’s Heavy Petting Pet-Nat is a glistening ruby red colour with aromas of fresh red berry fruit and raspberry liquorice. The palate is explosive with cherries and black plum, with a bone-dry mouth-filling foam and a zesty lick of natural acidity that is typical of the variety. Such a fun wine with as much personality as its creator. Serve cold, unshaken. Recommended food pairings: charcuterie, pizza, dark chocolate.