2021 WEINGUT ENGEL Petillant Naturel (Souvignier Gris)
Region: Styria < Austria
Grapes: Sauvignac + Souvignier Gris
Vineyard/cellar stats: organic farming, volcanic soils; 10 day maceration on the skins and then gently pressed. At the end of fermentation, bottles are filled. Ancestral method: spontaneous fermentation with final fermentation in the bottle without disgorging, no added sulfites, no temperature control; zero-zero; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Simon Engel
From Styria, Austria, neighbor to Kobatl, Simon Engel started his winery in 2006. Prior to that, the land was a small mixed agricultural farm with pumpkins, corn, fruits and pigs. With only 2000 m² of vines, in the spring of 2006, Simon started to produce wine in his garage, specializing in Riesling, Traminer and Chardonnay. Now he has 10 ha vineyards, all on volcanic soils, all organically farmed. He started producing natural wine in 2015 with fermentation in clay eggs. He is now planting and working with PIWIs, such as Souvignier Gris, thanks in large part to his rad neighbor Michael Gangl of Kobatl.
But wait, what's a PIWI, you ask? These are hybrid grapes crossed specifically for disease resistance - the new grape babies are so tough, no mold, insect or other ailment can infect them. They are SUPERGRAPES that need no treatment of any sort in the vineyard, making organic farming/natural winemaking easy peasy. Growers in cold wet regions like Alto Adige in Northern Italy and Austria have embraced the PIWI path, because climate conditions in these regions increase vine disease, mold and pests, make organic farming harder than in dry, windy places.
Not only does Simon's Pet-Net look adorable and festive, like fat Santa himself, but it is a dreamy, creamy take on natty fizz that everyone, even the natural wine newbies, will adore. It smells like golden apples and wet stone, with lively bubbles, more golden apple and brioche notes on the palate, making you think expensive Champagne not Austrian Pet-Nat. Super fun for holiday gatherings, and would make the cutest hostess gift.