Want a wine that’s ‘imminently smashable’? This Pet Nat is the all-terrain vehicle of the wine industry

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Want a wine that’s ‘imminently smashable’? This Pet Nat is the all-terrain vehicle of the wine industry

Words by Joanne Brookfield

Summer is looming and it brings with it the ‘silly season’. There’s end of year uni and office parties, festive celebrations with fam and friends plus a new year we need to welcome in as well.

While you might be resenting having to fork out for the office kris kringle and dreading what an octogenarian relative may have waiting for you under the tree, the one thing you can relax about is what to drink.

The Stuck in the 90s range is intended to be easy, fun and relaxed. Made by a team of hip young winemakers out in the Yarra Valley, the Stuck in the 90s range are what in the wine biz are known as “non-traditional” wines. There’s a Crunchy Red, a Skinsy Gris and for some sparkly summer bubbles, their Pet Nat.

Check out Stuck In The 90s’ whole range of almost deliberately imperfect (but bloody fantastic) wines right here.

However, these aren’t wines you put in the cellar and pull out next decade, like some kind of vintage car you only drive to the collector’s car show. These are like all-terrain vehicles, you can take them anywhere, anytime, created to be ideal for the many social occasions we have coming up – from pairing with fish n chips on the beach right through to more formal dining.

If you’re wanting to have a cheeky sip, you can sample the range at their official launch, which is happening on Saturday 19 November as part of Pulp, a brand-new 10-day festival celebrating winemaking innovation and diversity from new and established producers across the Yarra Valley.

Beat caught up with Meg, Ben and the Stuck in the 90s team to learn a bit more about their Pet Nat and what we can expect at the festival.

Stuck in the 90s – Pet Nat

So what’s a pet nat?

It’s short for “pétillant naturel”. There’s no need to bust out Google translate, as Meg explains it’s a French term that means “naturally sparkling”.

How’s it made?

“It is the oldest style of wine to be made,” says Ben, who goes on to use a whole bunch of technical terms like “capturing the CO2”, “partial ferment” and “baumé” to explain. In other words, a pet nat ferments in the bottle. Because of this, it’ll be “a little bit cloudy” and has a lighter fizz to it, than other sparkling wines.

What grapes do you use?

Roussane grapes sourced from the Upper Goulburn, around Nagambie way, because The Stuck in the 90s team are all about supporting local growers, especially those who “really, really struggled with COVID because there was obviously no tourism, so they weren’t selling any wine.”

What does the Pet Nat taste like – in wine talk?

Roussane is a “lemony, floral” grape variety, with some “perkiness and prettiness” to it. “It’s very summer-fruits driven, so pineapple and melon. It’s quite plush and round, and has really crisp acidity,” says Ben.

And in real talk?

We call it “imminently smashable”, says Meg, “because it’s not a huge bubble, it’s not like a coca cola bubble.”

Can I get this pet nat everywhere?

No! These are “small batch” wines, meaning they only make around a thousand litres, which is an infinitesimal drop in the vino vat when you consider other winemakers pump it out in the millions of litres. The Stuck in the 90s range is available at The Rose, Fitzroy; The Retreat, Brunswick and The Brandon, Carlton North. It is also available at independent wine shops and, of course, at the launch.

What can I expect on Saturday 19 November?

A leisurely 25-30 drive from Melbourne out to leafy Warrandyte South, or 21-23 Delaneys Road, to be precise. The Stuck in the 90s range were made in the “little nursery baby winery” out the back of Rob Dolan Wines, which is set on one hundred picturesque acres. On the day, the 90s theme is being ramped up, so expect a portable CD player loaded with appropriate tunes,  some vodka cruisers or sangria on arrival and then enjoy tastings of the Pet Nat, Skinsy Gris and Crunchy Red.

Once you’ve wet your whistle, the team will whip up a barbeque lunch with some of their favourite snacks from the 90s for nibbles and dessert.

Is it accessible?

“We’re committed to providing inclusive access for everyone,” says Meg, so there are accessible toilets and disability parking, among other things. “If you have any concerns, feel free to give our helpful team a call.”

What else do I need to know about these wines?

They’re vegan, lo-fi and sustainable. “This is low input winemaking at its best – pick it, ferment it, bottle it, drink it,” says Meg. The Stuck in the 90s range are all made with lightweight glass bottles to reduce energy and raw material consumption, while the labels, which are designed by artist Luna Tunes, are on on recycled paper.

What about the winemakers?

“We have a young, fun team who wanted to have a go at some on-trend wine styles,” explains Ben of the team who come from a mixed booze background. Some got their start working in hospitality, others have brewing backgrounds, but they all know what’s landing on tables in the coolest inner-city bars and pubs.

“Ours is a modern take on a fun style of winemaking, which we’ve aimed at the non-traditional, younger wine drinkers,” says winemaker Raph. Adds Adrian, “as a group, we’re pushing the boundaries of these different styles.”

Keep up with the latest Stuck In The 90s info and updates here. Grab your tickets to PULP Vol 1 by heading here.

This article was made in partnership with Stuck In The 90s Wine.