Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hughes Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet (2010)

One of the most fascinating things about wine is the opportunity to discover new grape varietals.  Moving beyond the Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios, treading into new, unchartered territories.  Since undertaking this adventure, I have learned about grapes such as Cesanese and Falanghina.  Both of those grapes are little known Italian varietals.  My latest adventure involved a lesser known French grape ... Picpoul de Pinet.

The name "Picpoul" or "Piquepoul" is French for "lip stinger," an apparent reference to the high acidity of the grape must.  The "lip stinger" is a white grape varietal grown principally in the French region of Languedoc.  The grape has its own AOC or appellation d'origine contrôlée that encompasses about three thousand acres.  The ancient Roman Via Domitienne cuts through the AOC, dividing it into two sections, North and South.  Each region has its own individual climate, with the North being hotter and more humid, while the South is more temperate due to the ocean breezes. 

The particular Picpoul de Pinet for the review is the Hughes Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet (2010).  This wine poured a nice golden color.  The wine has a fresh aroma of grapefruit, which also figures as the most prominent flavor.  The grapefruit is rounded out with other citrus flavors, such as lemon and lime.  The taste of the wine is finished with a little mineral or flint.  All of these flavors are delivered though a wine with a light, crisp body.  

Given the location of its AOC, which is close to the Mediterranean coast, it should be no surprise that the Picpoul de Pinot is best paired with dishes such as shellfish and grilled fish.  And, given its French provenance, the wine obviously pairs well with artisnal cheeses.  I would pair this wine with both soft cheeses and hard cheeses.  The crisp body could contrast well with the creaminess of soft cheeses, while the citrus flavors could complement harder cheeses.  

This wine is available at grocery stores.  If I recall correctly, a bottle of the Hughes Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet sells for about $9.99 a bottle.


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