Find out who won the regional trophy for under £10. And the winner is...
Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet, 2010
It may surprise you to discover that Tesco has included this relatively obscure white Languedoc appellation in its ‘Finest’ range; it certainly took me aback when I clicked open the spreadsheet of results.
A decade or two ago, it was just a few hikers plodding along the Via Domitia (the Roman road connecting Italy and Spain) who might have enjoyed an evening bottle of Picpoul: the path goes through this appellation. Most Picpoul ended up in aperitif wines like the delicious Noilly Prat (produced at Marseillan nearby).
“Current drinking trends for whites,” Tesco’s buyer James Griswood told me, “are moving towards fresher, lighter, more vibrant styles, so I thought that a Picpoul de Pinet would be a great addition to the shelves.
It’s true that it’s not a familiar name. But remember that the ‘Finest’ branding gives the customers the confidence to experiment, even if they don’t know the wine name beforehand.” That makes sense.
Griswood has chosen a cracking example of Picpoul to fit the market gap he saw, and it’s encouraging for the appellation as a whole that our two Picpoul trophy winners come from different co-operatives (this is from the Costières de Pomerols co-op).
The two criteria, says Griswood, are value and quality. He tasted lots of samples before choosing this wine, and what he particularly liked about it was what made our tasting panel sit up and take note – its distinctive salty tang, combined with crisp acidity and thirst-slaking fruit.
Not complicated, not intense; simply delicious.
Written by Andrew Jefford