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If you're are looking for a refreshing, food-friendly fizz we suggest you look no further than this fragrant Portuguese petillant naturel (or pet-nat for short). Pet-nats, of course have become increasingly popular, especially among younger imbibers looking for a more natural, artisanally crafted bubbly. For the uninitiated, pet-nats are a lightly sparkling wine made by bottling a still-fermenting base wine, resulting in trapped carbon dioxide that produces a gentle sparkle. The fermentation is finished in the bottle over time and the fine lees stay in contact with the wine creating a richer texture and a slightly hazy appearance.

This is just the ticket for casual patio entertaining as well as mid-week meals as it pairs well with lighter poultry dishes, tapas and fish dishes. Because of their small, hand-crafted production scale, the price for quality petillant naturels usually runs well north of twenty dollars a bottle or roughly twice the price of this killer Portuguese fizz. Given its obvious sky-high quality-to-price ratio, we immediately snapped up all our importer's Tapada Nova stock - but we would have gladly taken twice the amount we were given. At twelve dollars this quaffer is bound to fly out the door, so we strongly advise the wise to stock up now while supplies last.

One of the fun aspects of pet-nats is that they are usually made from non-traditional Champagne grapes. So, it is with this Tapada Nova bottling from Quinta das Arcas. Their winemaking team of Fernando Machado and Henrique Lopez chose to make a 50/50 blend from the 2021 harvest from two indigenous Portuguese white grapes - Azal and Arinto. Both of these varietals are late ripeners and are noted for their zippy acidity and citrus-tinged green apple flavor profile. Their creation is a well- mannered bubbly without the funky overtones that plague too many pet-nats. Instead, one is treated to pristine lemon curd, pippin apple and peach fragrances and flavors supported by a delicate mousse and embellished with savory biscuit inflections from the bottle fermentation. The finish is clean and just tart enough to invite another sip.
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