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From the publisher of Pipette Magazine, discover a natural wine-soaked memoir about finding your passion—and falling in love.
It was Rachel Signer's dream to be that girl: the one smoking hand-rolled cigarettes out the windows of her 19th-century Parisian studio apartment, wearing second-hand Isabel Marant jeans and sipping a glass of Beaujolais redolent of crushed roses with a touch of horse mane. Instead she was an under-appreciated freelance journalist and waitress in New York City, frustrated at always being broke and completely miserable in love. When she tastes her first pétillant-naturel (pét-nat for short), a type of natural wine made with no additives or chemicals, it sets her on a journey of self-discovery, both deeply personal and professional, that leads her to Paris, Italy, Spain, Georgia, and finally deep into the wilds of South Australia and which forces her, in the face of her "Wildman," to ask herself the hard question: can she really handle the unconventional life she claims she wants?
Have you ever been sidetracked by something that turned into a career path? Did you ever think you were looking for a certain kind of romantic partner, but fell in love with someone wild, passionate and with a completely different life? For Signer, the discovery of natural wine became an introduction to a larger ethos and philosophy that she had long craved: one rooted in egalitarianism, diversity, organics, environmental concerns, and ancient traditions. In You Had Me at Pét-Nat, as Signer begins to truly understand these revolutionary wine producers upending the industry, their deep commitment to making their wine with integrity and with as little intervention as possible, she is smacked with the realization that unless she faces, head-on, her own issues with commitment, she will not be able to live a life that is as freewheeling, unpredictable, and singular as the wine she loves.
In this breezy if flawed debut, Singer, founder of the natural wine magazine Pipette, mixes food journalism and personal memoir to chronicle her path to finding love and a career in natural winemaking. While waiting tables in her late 20s at an upscale restaurant in Brooklyn to supplement her food writing, the author was introduced to a "particular ros p t-nat," that, she recalls, "set off a wild woman inside of me." Eager to know more about the natural variety and its "carbonated punchiness," she embarked on a quest to learn and write about the intoxicating world of winemaking, traveling from Paris to Spain and after meeting her future husband, a winemaker who goes by the nickname "Wildman" eventually settling in Australia, where she now runs a winery with him. Throughout, she pays lip service to the conversations about privilege and class that have recently ignited the culinary industry, noting the low wages grape harvesters survive on and acknowledging the historic genocide that enabled her partner to found his vineyard in South Australia. Yet at the same time, she writes without irony that she "had set out on own" after casually mentioning the several thousands of dollars she borrowed from her sister. Despite its bubbly content, this isn't likely to inspire new converts to the p t-nat craze.