Friday, December 13, 2019

Unexpected Pairings for a Pét-Nat Duo from Donkey & Goat: Coconut Beef Curry and Holiday Cookies #WinePW

This month the Wine Pairing Weekend crew is tasting, pairing, and sharing about Pét-Nat. Cindy of Grape Experiences is hosting; you can read her invitation: here. And, if you are seeing this early enough, feel free to join our live chat on Twitter, Saturday, December 14th at 8am Pacific time. You can follow the conversation or chime in by using the hashtag #WinePW. In the meantime, here's what the group is posting about this topic...

The #WinePW Line-Up

What is a Pét-Nat? 

'Pét-Nat', short for Pétillant-Naturel, is an ancient method of making sparkling wine. In contrast with the méthode champenoise in which a finished wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with additional yeasts and sugars, Pét-Nats are bottled before the primary fermentation is finished. This produces a much more rustic sparkling wine that is often cloudy and bottled with a crown cap - like a beer - instead of a cork.

I decided to use this as an opportunity to open, pair, and play with two Pét-Nats from one of my favorite vintners, Donkey & Goat out of Berkeley. The first one I poured was their 2018 Lily's Pét-Nat. Though Pét-Nat can be made with any varietal, this one is Chardonnay and is one they have been making since 2011. From the Anderson Valley, the grapes were sourced at the Conzleman Vineyard and pressed on the same day on which they were harvested. 

Coconut Beef Curry + 2018 Lily's Pét-Nat

Though I thought about a lot of different cheese pairings to go with this sparkling Chardonnay, I wanted to go a little unexpected and opted to pair the wine with an earthy, warming curry...and a beef curry at that. Rogue, I tell you! It was definitely fitting for a winemaker who has an entire 'esoteric' selection of wines on his webpage.

On the Plate
You can go to my original recipe post here: Coconut Beef Curry in a Pumpkin.

In the Glass
This Pét-Nat almost perfectly mirrored the beef curry in that it was earthy with a touch of spiciness. The coconut milk made the dish silky and the wine was similarly supple. And the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin was also matched by the wine. Donkey & Goat describes this wine as 'gulpable' which almost made me laugh aloud. I usually want to linger over my wine and expect it to be sippable. But I definitely saw their point. Delicious!

Holiday Cookies + 2018 Pinot Meunier Pét-Nat

Then I thought: what's better than a holiday cookie platter to end an evening? Nothing. I decided to pour the 2018 Pinot Meunier Pét-Nat for dessert alongside some of my holiday baked goods.

On the Plate
I have been a mad baking elf the past few weekends and was especially inspired by an inspiring fifteen minute video by cookie artiste Susan Spungen, last week. I found the article: 12 Stunning Cookies that will Impress Everyone You Know that featured Spungen's recipes and more gorgeous photos of her creations.

Here are some of our recent holiday cookie on the title to go to the original recipe post. Though I have decided that any cookie and any sparkling wine would be a great match. Really.

I haven't yet posted the recipe for those Dulce de Leche Thumbprints in the photo above...or the Olallieberry Thumbprints. Soon!

In the Glass
Pinot Meunier, also known as Meunier or Schwarzriesling, is a variety of black wine grape that is one of the three main varietals used in the production of Champagne. These grapes come from vineyards in the Russian River Valley that are over half a century old.

I was surprised at how few the bubbles were in this wine. Very low least to the eye. However, on the tongue it definitely sparkled in a lovely, understated way. This Pét-Nat was both zingy and fresh with some interesting herbal and citrus notes.

As always Donkey & Goat produced some unexpected Pét-Nats. That's one of my favorite things about their wines - that I am constantly surprised and delighted. To match their unexpected wines, I tried to create some unexpected pairings, including a red meat dish and some cookies. Maybe the cookies aren't so much a surprise.

I could also see pouring both of these wines as I nibbled on olive oil potato chips smeared with

That was one of the snacks I tried the last time I was at the Donkey & Goat Winery back in August. Such a great combination.

Well, that's a wrap on the #WinePW event for December...and the final Wine Pairing Weekend topic of 2019. We will return on January 11th to talk about Godforsaken Grapes. My invitation for that will be up give everyone as much lead time as possible. I can't wait to explore some indigenous, less popular, and under-represented varietals. 


  1. What fun pairings! Love the curry in a pumpkin, holiday cookie assortment, and olive oil potato chips with chevre. Haven't tried any Donkey & Goat wines but sounds like I need to!

  2. It seems that winemakers who produce Pet-Nat wines love to dabble in less-usual varieties. I love that you tried one made from Meunier - and a white at that. Pairing the Chardonnay with the beef curry sounds just right, too. Cheers to mixing it all up!

  3. Their Lily's Pét-Nat is my line up too and I can absolutely see it with the coconut curry. Funny enough, I was sipping one of their other Pét-nats at a party just last night!

  4. I love the pairings and can just imagine how delicious the coconut curry was with the pet-nat. Well done!!!


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