Province wine columnist James Nevison.
Jason Payne / PNG
James Nevison offers up three B.C. sparkling wines to help you celebrate Canada DayAs we lead up to the Canada Day weekend, there’s only one wine question on my mind: which bottle of bubbly should be cracked to toast the 152nd anniversary of our nation’s enactment of the Constitution Act.But don’t say those words when toasting, “Happy Canada Day” will certainly suffice.Now while I would never look askance at any bottle of Canadian bubbly being popped and poured to celebrate Canada Day — just make sure the grapes were grown in Canada, OK? — the “cool” sparkling pick would undoubtedly be Pét-Nat. Short for pétillant-naturel, literally “naturally sparkling,” this currently hip and happening bubbly is actually quite old by design.Made using the Ancestral Method,which well predates Champagne’s Traditional Method, this basic form of winemaking bottles primary-fermenting wines in situ — and as fermentation continues the carbonation is trapped along with residual yeast and sediment!.A Sunday in August 2018 Pet Nat Pinot Blanc, B.C. ($34.20, limited availability through the winery and select private stores)Making Pét-Nat is easy in theory but risky in real-world commercial application considering end results are hard to completely control, which is why we don’t see a large amount of Pét-Nat lining shelves. But an intrepid crew of B.C. wineries have been inspired, including upstart A Sunday in August. The winery’s recently released, first go at Pét-Nat is made with organically-grown Pinot Blanc sourced from Sperling Vineyards in Kelowna. Lean and lightly fizzy, oodles of green apples and citrus abound in this dry, austerely elegant bottle. Bring on fried fish tacos, poutine, or really anything rich and greasy so the carbonation and acid can cut through. Bottom line: B-, Light and leanSperling Vineyards 2018 Speritz Pet Nat, B.C. ($30, limited availability through the winery and select private stores)The Sperling Vineyards connection continues with Sperling’s own Pét-Nat. In this case, the Speritz Pet Nat features biodynamic and estate-grown Perle of Csaba, a relatively obscure grape with Hungarian origins. True to form, it comes across aromatic and quite tropical, with fruity aromas leading to a surprisingly dry, lighter style overall. Similar to most Pét-Nats, the Speritz is made with ambient yeasts and with no fining nor filtration, and in this case also without the addition of added sulphites. It’s also similarly produced in limited quantities — 368 cases, specifically — so act soon if you want a taste.Bottom line: B+, Light and elegantBella Wines Ltd. 2018 Gamay Noir Methode Ancestrale Rosé, B.C. ($40, limited availability through the winery and select private stores)Finally, no discussion of B.C. Pét-Nat would be complete without mention of Bella Wines. Solely focused on sparkling wines, in 2014 Bella was the first to bring local Pét-Nat to market. Their latest round of Pét-Nats include wines made from Chardonnay and Gamay Noir, such as this bottle sourced from Mariani Vineyard in Naramata Village. Clone 787 Gamay Noir for those keeping track. This pale pink sparkler — three hours skin contact — features notes of red berry and mineral, with a vibrant cranberry kiss to start and a slightly off-dry finish to balance out the robust finish. One word: delicious.Bottom line: A, Pair with a sunsetThe Swirl: Champagne and CaviarLooking for more sparkling wine? Head to Liberty Wine’s upcoming Champagne and Caviar tasting. Once again taking place at the Vancouver Rowing Club (450 Stanley Park Drive) and benefiting amateur sports in B.C., the annual fundraiser features a decadent evening of bubbly and caviar backdropped by a picturesque Stanley Park setting! The 24th annual tasting takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 19, and tickets are $29.99. Head to libertywinemerchants.com for complete details. Contact James: @hadaglass