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L’Ormarine, Duc de Morny, Picpoul de Pinet, 2010
If Picpoul de Pinet is beginning to achieve international recognition, much of this must be due to the generally high standards achieved by the L’Ormarine (the ‘seagold’) cooperative, which is by far the biggest producer of wine in this 1,300-ha appellation.
Chief winemaker Philippe Solanet says that the Duc de Morny cuvee represents the ‘prestige’ level of the co-operative’s work, and those who want their vines to be included have to sign up at the beginning of the year for a complete programme of intensive vineyard work, lowered yields and careful canopy management.
“What we’re looking for are the vital aromatic precursors which will give you that distinctive freshness, those notes of citrus and lime. In our intensely maritime location, we think that the origin of those is generally in the relationship between the warm, humid, breezy climate and the plant’s vegetal growth.”
Monsieur Solanet rejects, though, any notion that the salty, iodine-like edge of the wine comes directly from the sea breezes — though in the long term, he says, those salt-laden winds may affect the clay-limestone soils of the region.
Aromatic complexity was certainly what our tasters noted in this wine (some felt it was reminiscent of the some of the whites of Galicia, another profoundly maritime location), and Philippe Solanet emphasised that the vinification methods were aimed at maximising that.
The fruit is sorted on the vine prior to harvesting, then machine-harvested at night, chilled and given skin maceration prior to a cool fermentation with selected yeasts and a blocked malo.
Early bottling preserves that freshness. Just add oysters.
Written by Andrew Jefford