Pinet is situated inland some six miles from the coast, bordering on the edge of
Etang de Thau (a salt water lagoon) in southwest France. In spite of a modest
population of 1300, this nonetheless is the heart of the Picpoul de Pinet AOC.
A favourite style of the Emperor Napoleon III, these premium, regionally distinct
wines are made with a lesser-known, golden skin-coloured grape originally called
Piquant-Paul, later as Picapulla and finally now known as Piquepoul. Referencing
the grape’s naturally high levels of acidity with mineral accents, its name literally
translates as ‘stings the lip’ – though it doesn’t really, of course!
Moreover, this lively fruit was traditionally blended with another obscure variety
known as Clairette, creating a tangy wine style called white Picardin – millions of
liters of which were once shipped northwards along networks of canals to Paris
each year. Susceptible to various pests, the vines fell out of vinicultural favour in
the late 19th century. Able to thrive in sandy soils (unlike it’s associated pests),
Picpoul is again resurgent in Mediterranean coastal vineyards that surround Pinet.
Home to the cooperative Cave de Pomerols founded in 1932, this group boasts
320 members and growing, tending to over 800 hectares of highly productive
vineyards in a landscape that is basically a chalky-clay plateau, rich in limestone,
quartz gravel and otherwise covered with Garrigue. This indigenous vegetation
lining the coast, is made up of an assortment of small aromatic bushes, which
like the local grapes have gradually adapted to thrive in the near-drought climate
of summertime. Though challenging, these growing conditions are fortuitously
punctuated by late season humidity, thereby encouraging the fruit to plump up,
reaching full maturity before harvest.
For this week’s DéClassé recommended bottling, this ancient varietal white is a
very dry, citrus-scented wine with a long-standing reputation for being the perfect
complement to shellfish – the wine’s acidity balancing off the saltiness. However,
Picpoul is food-friendly in general and fulfilling when served alone as an apéritif.
BEAUVIGNAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2013
VINTAGES –LCBO Product #350124 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 13.95
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Midi, France
By: Les Costières de Pomérols
Release Date: May 24, 2014
A very lively wine style with lemony overtones of citrus fruit, pleasantly refreshing
grapefruit flavours and a hint of minerality on the tangy finish. It’s an ideal partner
with seafood, grilled fish, seafood, rich cheese and charcuterie.