One cold day in March this year, Spring came to my house in the form of two bottles of Picpoul de Pinet. They were sent as part of the April #Winophiles group from Benson Marketing and for that I am very thankful. I first heard of Picpoul about 10 years ago from a friend who was an importer in North Carolina. I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it before but was excited to discover this interesting variety from the Languedoc. I later learned that Picpoul de Pinet is the largest white wine producing appellation in Languedoc. The area lies on the banks of the Thau lagoon, west of the Golfe de Lyon. It is bounded by three areas in somewhat of a triangle shape – Agde, Pézenas and Sète. The soils are limestone with much Mediterranean bush and pine groves.
I was sent two wines, one from Domaine de Cantagrils, Picpoul de Pinet 2015 and the other from Gaujal de Saint Bon, Picpoul de Pinet ”Cuvee des Dames” 2017. Both are incredibly well-priced at just $10 each. I was surprised to learn that they were so reasonable because I found them complex and well-rounded wines with both pleasing aromas on the palate as well as well-knitted winemaking.
The Domaine de Cantagrils wine was made by Claude Jourdan on the estate that her mother started in 1983. She has 45 acres of Picpoul growing on red, iron-rich soils.
Domaine Gaujal St. Bon is a small winery run by a mother-daughter team, Simone and Virginie Gaujal. The yields are kept very low at this winery in the 40 h/h range, while 60 h/h is permitted in the appellation.
I brought the wines to my family’s Seder where they worked nicely with the soup course. That’s asking a lot of any white wine but especially ones that retail for $10. I can imagine eating them with shellfish and all manner of seafood are certainly better pairings but that was not on the menu at our dinner.
These straw yellow wines with green highlights offer floral notes as well as grapefruit and melon and more tropical fruit on the finish. They have great acidity and minerality. I found them both delicate and fresh with depth. They stood up to soup at a Passover Seder which is not known for its light touch and that is saying something.
I was excited to try the wines at this point in the Spring so that I will remember to buy more of them when I go to the store looking to pair foods with lighter summer dishes. As readers of this blog know, I began my winelife as a Francophile but often forget my roots. Tastings like these help me to remember them.
Join us on #Winophiles for our Twitter Chat April 21, 11 a.m. ET. The chat is open to any and all who are interested in the topic. Jump in and get social!
The following articles by participating bloggers will be live by Saturday morning. Stay tuned.
Cakes and Fennel-Apple Salad.