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Sunday wine reads are Hart & Crus way of telling our story, the Cru of H&C, our wine loving people around the country, all chime in about a theme each week. The purpose is to make wine more approachable and educate a bit along the way. Hopefully keeping this lite hearted and fun with a bit none pretentious bs to tell the story. We hope you take the time to read what we are thinking about wine today. Cheers

the CRU


Kevin Hart

Michael Cruse disgorging a bottle of sparkling. Image by Peter DaSilva for The Chronicle.

Michael Cruse disgorging a bottle of sparkling. Image by Peter DaSilva for The Chronicle.


What’s old is new again. This time around, it’s touched everyone from your hipster sommelier’s love child to you and your grandmother's first cousin.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was struck by the paralyzing realization that the only step forward I could take was to indulge in something I had never experienced before. I didn’t want to live in a world of missed opportunities, I was determined to leave no stone unturned. It was at that point that I stumbled upon, tripped over, or more accurately was introduced to a different kind of beauty in this world. I instantly became hooked, and at times a little obsessed. I didn’t need to go to a fine dining restaurant to indulge in bubbly anymore. Something new - or should I say very old - had consumed my world.

The "Méthode Ancestrale”, crafted from both white and red grape skins alike, is an inexpensive, un-rushed and difficult-to-control method of producing natural sparkling wine. The French term, pét-nat (aka nat daddy), slang for Pétillant Naturel, is made by taking unfinished (in other words, still-fermenting) wine, bottling without any additives, and crown- capping it (like you’d see on a beer bottle). A fermentation byproduct (CO2) then becomes trapped inside the bottle, completing the fermentation process (that’s where the persistent bubbles come from). And wa-lah.

Unlike Champagne, pét-nat generally falls under one of three holistic concepts: natural, organic, or biodynamic. Our experiential, new wave of American winemakers who’ve adopted this unadorned method have capitalized on the notion that the combination of our soil, the sun, the moon and all of our stars make our world a more curious place - a more beautiful place. And they’re right. We live in a world of flavor and texture. Why would we cover it up? The spontaneity behind taking away the pretense of champagne is to create something slightly soft and effervescent, more down to earth, fresh and alive. Because with any given day on this earth, there should always be days that make you feel a little lighter and smile a little more often.

Natural winemakers have paved an alley to connect with people by creating something better than what is. They’re changing the way we celebrate and drink on a daily basis. Consider me biased, but it makes sense - it’s what champagne always was and always should be. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, it’s something you can drink a lot of and feel good, always. That in itself, a highly anticipated force a nature, both whimsical and free-spirited, is taking our world by storm. To me, that’s magic.

I took a gamble three years ago. I’d been doing it all wrong. I couldn’t shut up about it. Couldn’t stop reading about it. So, what I urge you the most is to consider more than a pét- nat’s varietal. That’s simply not enough. Examine every taste and smell, acknowledge how it’s expressed - be open for pét-nat’s capacity to change your life. And within the brief moments of time we have on this earth, allow it to take your breath away. We only get so many orbits around the sun, and these wines - I assure you - make each of them more alive, more full, more meaningful.

the Cru - Madeline Heile, Cincinnati

Madeline is a Cincinnati Wine Enthusiast

and Strategist.


Many of these are hard to come by. 



Ali Boit Boit Et Les 40 Buveurs, Burgundy France { varietals : Aligoté }

Grown on hills of Auxey-Duresses and the surrounding villages. Made in a playful manner from the nearly lost varietal of Aligoté. 



Ali Boit Boit Et Les 40 Buveurs Rosé, Burgundy France { varietals : Gamay }

Produced in a manner that is more of a light red rather than the familiar summer rosé. A bit of natural sweetness is left in the wine, which balances out nicely against the tight, lively bubbles. 



La Bulle De L'Ouest Methode Ancestrale, Loire France { varietals : Melon de Bourgogne }

Julien Braud is an exciting young winemaker, one of the few next generation winemakers in Sevre et Maine, who has taken over part of his family's estate with the mission of pushing the limits of Muscadet and its identity grape, Melon de Bourgogne. 



Il Pestifero Frizzante Sur Lie, March Italy { varietals : Verdicchio, Sangiovese, & Malvasia }

Tenuta di Tavignano is located on a hill overlooking the Adriatic sea, in the heart of the famous Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico appellation. Il Pestifero, which translates loosely as “bratty little boy” or “problem child,” which fits this experimental wine that is new to the families offerings. 



Pétillant Naturel Sparkling Valdiquié, Napa Valley California { varietals : Valdiquié }

The vineyard is dry farmed and the vines are bush trained. Vines are approximately 65 years old. "A refreshing blast of watermelon aqua fresca with a slight overtone of fresh baker’s yeast on the nose. An intense palate that keeps the light fruit character but mixes with a bit of rose petals and fresh earth." - Michael Cruse



Pétillant Naturel Sparkling St. Laurent, Carneros California { varietals : St. Laurent }

This Austrian variety has been grown by Dale Ricci, a longtime family friend of Michael Cruse, for about 15 years. Ricci vineyards is on the Sonoma half of Carneros and only a few miles from the San Pablo Bay. The grapes, after a few days of carbonic maceration, were gently pressed, fermented in a concrete egg, then finished fermentation in bottle.


See you next Sunday.

Kevin O. Hart 

I am sure this reading has made you thirsty. Feel free to reach out and let us curate some incredible wine just for you.