Pet Nat seems to be all the fashion in the wine industry at the moment. Then there is Tom Oliver, the cider fans cider maker. Put the two together and well … it’s the Olivers Pet Nat.
I feel like this review is going to need a lot of explaining so let’s start with what is a Pet Nat Cider. The Pet Nat or Pétillant Naturel (translated to natural sparkling) is about as basic a production method as possible. It is a little bit different to a Methode Traditionelle. In both styles, the fizz comes from fermentation in the bottle. In the MT it comes from the secondary ferment, so an extra sugar source needs to be added for the 2nd ferment. In a Pet Nat, the fizz is all from the first ferment. So when the juice goes into the bottle it remains untouched, then when the bottle is opened it comes out as a cider. Cap the bottle too early and you’ve got a bottle bomb, too late and you’ve got a Pet Flat. Before all of that, you better make sure that you have got your juice blend bang on because there is little room to move.
That means that a cider maker has got to know what they are doing. So, let’s introduce the maker. Tom Oliver. Oliver grew up in an apple-growing region of England. After spending some time on the music scene, being the tour manager for bands like The Proclaimers, Oliver came back to the farm to make cider.
His philosophy is simple: minimal intervention and strive to take what the fruit gives. And why wouldn’t you let the fruit sing if that fruit comes from one of the most famous apple-growing regions?
This philosophy has led Oliver’s cider to become one of the most well-respected cider and perry makers in the world with bags of awards and collaborative cider making projects from around the globe. Back in 2018BC (before Covid) I was hoping to visit the Olivers Cider House on my UK Cider Tour, But alas I fell off my bike and couldn’t make it. Visiting is still on my to-do list in the post covid times.
Layers upon layers. Starting with a restrained base layer of heritage English cider apples with their typical barnyard elements. Next is more fruit, a little bit of dark cherries. Right on top, it gets a little bit smokey, I wonder if this spent some time in a charred oak barrel?
Olivers Pet Nat is Fruity without being sweet suddenly the lightly sparkling Cider fizzes up with sharp effervescence. Fading into leathers and smoke tones. The slightest chalky minerals dry out the lips and palate
The finish has a few bitter elements but nothing off-putting. They just serve as a counterpoint to the fruit and invites it to be served with food.
Final Thoughts on the Olivers Pet Nat
It is the smokey notes fading into a chalky textural finish that does it for me. It is hard to find a complex cider that is also very easy to drink. Oliver’s nails it with this Pet Nat. This is the first of Olver’s range that I have tried. Now I want more. Lucky Australia now has a distributor, Lobo Cider from South Australia is importing limited quantities.
|Product||Pet Nat Medium Dry Season 2018|
|Company||Oliver’s Fine Cider|
|Country of Origin||England|