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The Picpoul de Pinet Grape


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About Picpoul de Pinet

(Synonyms: Avillo, Languedocien, Piquepoul Blanc, Piquepoul de Pinet)

Background

Map showing the Languedoc region of France

The wines are “Picpoul de Pinet”, but the grape, though often also so called, is properly “Piquepol Blanc”; but here we will, for simplicity, refer to both the grape and the wines as Picpoul de Pinet.

Picpoul is a three-member family of grapes originating in the Languedoc region of France, where its cultivation is many centuries old. The three member varieties are: white (blanc), red (rouge), and rosé (gris); it is the white variety that is most usually used to make wine, and on which we focus here. The great bulk of white Picpoul-based wine is used for “Picpoul de Pinet”, a name that, by French law, designates wines that are 100% white Picpoul and come from one of a small specified set of communes (Pinet, Mèze, Florenzac, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac and Pomérols). (The rest mostly or wholly goes as a small addition into blends, to perk them up a bit with its acidity.)

It is doubtful that even the most ardent advocates of Picpoul de Pinet would call it one of the great wines of the world, but—like so many regional wines that have endured through time—it serves well in certain uses and (as you will see below) does have some ardent fans. Notably, it works well when the chief wanted qualities are crispness and acidity, which are its stock in trade. In its native region, it is commonly drunk with shellfish, especially oysters, but works well with any rich dish, especially anything with a cream-based sauce.

Picpoul is rarely grown outside its native land, but there are a few wineries in the U.S. working with it; Tablas Creek, in California, reports that in its climate, Picpoul retains its defining acidity, but acquires fuller, lusher flavors. Some is also grown in Texas.

The wine is typically a greenish gold in color, with crisp minerality, definite acid, and some citrus qualities, notably lemon. (Some report, and cherish, a hint of salinity or even iodine aromas, which purportedly enhance its use with seafood.) The very name of the grape means “lip stinger”, which suggests its acidity levels. Improved winemaking techniques and greater care have, in recent times, resulted in more distinctive and more widely appreciated versions. Picpoul is a wine best drunk young; aging is neither needed nor wanted.

Picpoul de Pinet wines are virtually all sold in a special, distinctive bottle (called a “Neptune” bottle): green, tall, fairly thin, and with an embossed Languedoc cross on it. Most bottlings come from wine cooperatives, but there are also a few individual vintners making the stuff.

Factoid: In the 17th and 18th centuries, Picpoul was blended with another popular Languedoc white, Clairette, to make a popular blend known as “Picardan”.

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Some Descriptions of Picpoul de Pinet Wines

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Some Picpoul de Pinets to Try

(About this list.)

Domaine Gaujal de Saint Bon “Cuvée des Dames” Picpoul de Pinet

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



La Croix “Gratiot” Picpoul de Pinet

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Domaine Reine Juliette “Terres Rouges” Picpoul de Pinet

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Montmassot Picpoul de Pinet

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We found no Picpouls better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.