Tired of drinking the same dry white wine this summer? Discover the zingy freshness and fantastic value of Picpoul de Pinet wines, from France's Languedoc-Roussillon region. See below for Andrew Jefford's top 10 of the best, all for under £12...
What is Picpoul de Pinet wine?
It’s a crisp white wine made from the ancient Picpoul grape, hailing from Languedoc-Roussillon’s Picpoul de Pinet AOC in southwest France.
Scroll down for the top 10 Picpoul de Pinet wines to enjoy this summer
It has grown by Étang de Thau, a string of lagoons stretching from the coast to the Pyrénées, for centuries, but it’s only fairly recently that Picpoul de Pinet has gained widespread appreciation as a dry white wine, and it only became an appellation in 2013. Originally, it might have been more well known as one of the grapes used to make vermouth.
Black or red strains of the Picpoul grape do exist, but it’s more common to encounter wines made from the white variety, which you can spot by looking for the signature sleek green bottle.
Picpoul de Pinet wines are often clear with green tints, although it can be more golden coloured if harvested from old vines. The wines are generally drunk young, within the first few years of release.
What does it taste like?
Picpoul’s name literally translates to ‘lip stinger’, on account of its zingy acidity. This is often complemented by citrus and green fruit flavours, with aromas of blossom. More complex examples can display mineral or yeasty notes, too. It might be compared to Muscadet wines from the Loire Valley.
In Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet wines are often paired with local seafood like mussels and oysters, as its zesty acidity makes it a prime partner for seafood. A more contemporary pairing seen around restaurants this summer is Picpoul with fish and chips.
Its high acidity can also cut through rich foods like cheese and charcuterie, or even desserts, making it a versatile wine for picnics.