Picpoul… Take Me Away!

The warm weather of spring begins to usher in thoughts of summer vacation. It is nice to escape from the daily hustle and bustle to a relaxed beach getaway. But alas, it is only April and dreams of sun and fun must wait a few more months. One of the many aspects I love about wine is the mini escapes it can provide, a moment stolen from time, transported to a more relaxing destination. Picpoul de Pinet is the perfect grape to provide a momentary escape to the South of France.

Are you familiar with Picpoul de Pinet? It hails from the Languedoc region of France and is this month’s focus for the French Winophiles. Picpoul is a great spring and summer time sipper because it is so food friendly, especially with seafood and shellfish.

Picpoul de Pinet comes from the ancient grape picuepoul, meaning lip stinger. The name is derived from its piercing acidity. It is able to retain this acidity despite growing in the Mediterranean heat of the South of France.

The AOC Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet vineyards cover some 1400 hectares (3000 acres) around the Thau lagoon to the west of the Mediterranean Golfe de Lyon. It forms a triangle bounded by Agde, Pézenas and Sète and is the largest white wine producer in the Languedoc.

The vineyards in this area are surrounded by garrigue, the French word for wild scrub bushes of juniper, rosemary, thyme, sage, and holm oak. The Languedoc region is filled with garrigue (as is much of southern France). These scrub bushes add a layer of aromas and flavors to these wines, transporting the wine lover to the Mediterranean Sea, French style.

Picpoul offers aromas and flavors of white flowers, preserved lemon, melon, stone fruit, crushed stone, and salinity. It makes for a great pairing with anything from the sea because of its high acidity, refreshing delivery, minerality, and salinity notes. It is perfect for beach vacation escape meal. Another bonus to Picpoul is its price. Typically selling for less than $15, Picpoul is a great reason to branch out from Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño.

Disclaimer: media sample; thoughts & opinions my own.

2017 Les Costieres de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc France $12: pale lemon-green; medium aromas of preserved lemon, white stone fruit, grapefruit, crushed stone, saline, wild herbs; characteristically racy acidity with loads of salinity on the palate, tart and refreshing, light body, medium finish; stainless steel fermentation; aged on lees for a few months; screw cap closure makes it great for taking on the go to a BYOB or park

The vines are planted on the sun-drenched hillside called “costieres” in the Mediterranean garrigue, near the Etang de Thau. The vines are 15-20 years old.

I chose to pair this wine with Linguine with Smoked Baco, Leeks, and Clams from Toby Cecchini in the New York Times. This quick to prepare weeknight meal was perfect with the wine. The briny claims really paired well with the wine’s minerality and salinity. The smoked bacon added another dimension to the salinity. Although the three Tablespoons of lemon juice are optional in the recipe, in pairing with the Picpoul the lemon is a must! The creaminess of the sauce incorporated a bit of the wine with EVOO and lemon juice for the perfect balance to the high acidity. I was unsure how the cherry tomatoes would fair, but as part of the overall dish it was a winner!

Picpoul de Pinet may be a new grape for you. If so, you are in luck. Because not only do you have my food pairing option, but take a moment to check out the rest of these great pairing ideas and learn  more about this grape from my fellow Winophiles:

  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm encourages us to Pick a Picpoul to Enjoy al Fresco This Summer.
  • Susannah of Avvinare features Picpoul de Pinet – A Refreshing White from the Languedoc.
  • Jill of L’Occasion shares Mediterranean Bliss: Picpoul de Pinet.
  • Jeff of FoodWineClick! pairs Picpoul de Pinet and Steak Tartare Redemption.
  • Nicole of Somm’s Table writes Cooking to the Wines: Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet with Crab Cakes and Fennel-Apple Salad.
  • Payal of Keep the Peas posts A Lip-Smacking Lip-Stinger: Picpoul de Pinet.
  • David of Cooking Chat makes a case for Picpoul Wine with Pesto and Other Pairings.
  • Lauren of The Swirling Dervish says Picpoul de Pinet: Your Go-To Wine for Spring.
  • Lynn of Savor the Harvest asserts The Single Variety Wine For Summer- Picpoul de Pinet
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator will share Picpoul Goes Southern With Shrimp and Grits.
  • Rupal of Syrah Queen will also have a title by tomorrow.
  • Jane of Always Ravenous shares Halibut with Spring Vegetables and Picpoul Wine.
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Pairing Bourride à la Sétoise with Picpoul From France to California’s Central Coast.
  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles shares Picpouls from Pinet and California and a Seaside Pairing

My Song Selection:

Join us this morning at 10am on Twitter using #Winophiles to share and learn about Picpoul de Pinet. And stay tuned for next month when the Winophiles head to Cotes de Bordeaux for some delicious wine and spring food pairings.

Get your own bottle of Picpoul and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!

25 comments

  1. Beautiful food photos… great pairings. I have to admit, we need to focus more of our attention on French wines. Since we have been living in the UK, we have been drinking wines from all over Europe. We used to drink pretty much exclusively French wines 20 years ago, but have sort of wandered off and now feel a little out of the loop. Time to refocus. Im hoping to spend more time in France on our next trip here.

  2. I love Picpoul. My first introduction to it was actually in Paso when friends of ours Four Lanterns Winery had one. Steve is a fan. I immediately started looking for more! Love the acidity in it.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful pairing! I can see clams being very good with Picpoul. Great way of describing the little escapes afforded by wine!

  4. Will ;definitely be seeking out a Picpoul for this summer. Which as you know will be here late April 😂 w typical Oklahoma flare & helped by warm Texas breezes. It sounds like a superb refresher for these parts. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful, Michelle. Sumptuous feast for the eyes. Cheers!

  5. Looks like a nice twist on linguine with clams, and I’m sure the Picpoul was perfect. I’m a bit miffed at NY Times these days as almost all their cooking & recipe content is behind a paywall. Oh well!

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