Pet nat gruner and fizzy moscato from Austria? Wake up, Sally! This is happening. You probably won’t see either of these wines on the list at your favorite haunt any time soon, but if you’d like to consider the potential of Austrian sparklers, these two wines are a great place to start.
2021 Hager Matthias Pet Nat Gruner Veltliner – My first encounter with both Austrian pet nat and pet nat made from gruner veltliner. Surprisingly good stuff, sweeter and more effusive than the typical pet nat, with a crisp note of lemon curd backed up with gooseberry and a light touch of buttery biscuits. There’s some of that classic gruner greenery (grunery?) plus ample acidity here — the wine appropriately hazy — with some good salinity and lime juice notes on the finish. All told this drinks more like a traditional sparkler than your usual pet nat (which is traditionally less fizzy and more funky), though it retains the style’s ultra-low 11.5% abv. A- / $30
NV Gunter + Regina Triebaumer Rust Muscato – Matured under pressure, there’s only the barest hint of carbonation remaining in this wine today. Most would be forgiven for believing it to be a (7% abv) still wine. Plump and sweet like any good moscato, though not overblown, the wine evokes honey (and honeysuckle), orange Creamsicles, Lemonheads, and a pinch of fresh green herbs. It’s a simple summer wine that feels both decadent and refreshing — citrus cleansing the palate on the finish. A- / $25