Unlike Tuscany, this fantastic region is not particularly well known for fine wines. Many of its wines are rosés, best consumed on a terrace overlooking the sea. The grape Picpoul de Pinet is mostly grown in the Languedoc region of France, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. It is both blended and made into varietal wines.
Let’s start with the marketing materials. "Picpoul de Pinet is a grape variety that is a perfect example of the Mediterranean climate in a bottle. Expect hints of citrus, curry, spice, garrigue, and floral in a racy/fresh frame. It is an excellent palate refresher or would match a grilled prawn dish." And now for my review.
I started by sipping this wine alone. It was acidic and refreshing with a note of honeysuckle. I tasted it with barbecued chicken thighs, French fries spiced with rosemary and garlic, and green beans cooked with crushed tomatoes. The wine was clearly acidic. It tasted of honeysuckle and citrus with sweet notes. Bizarre, it was sometimes short and sometimes long but always palate cleansing and sometimes metallic.
The second meal was baked chicken breast in a potato puree, accompanied by green beans in a tomato sauce. I apologize for the double chicken tasting. I did try this wine with shepherd’s pie but because of some dental work the tasting was painful and not at all informative. Anyway, with the chicken breast the wine was lightly sweet with even a taste of honey and refreshing acidity. The Picpoul was moderately long and mouth-filling, quite a pleasant match.
The next meal consisted of an omelet and a commercial artichoke dip with Japanese rice crackers. I felt lip-puckering acidity. The citrus shadow of the wine lasted a long time. The wine was definitely muted by the acidic dip. Interestingly enough, it came out the best with the rice crackers. Later on in the meal the wine softened. It became sweet once more in the presence of Wasabi peas.
I finished the tasting with two cheeses. The first cheese was a Provolone. The wine tasted fairly fruity and had good length and acidity. This was better than an average wine and cheese pairing. The marbled Cheddar succeeded in muting the wine, in particular its acidity. This pairing was not nearly as good as the preceding one.
Final verdict. Mixed feelings. There are lots of good $10 wines out there. I don’t see the point of returning to this one. But maybe I’m too harsh. For $10 what can you usually expect from an expensive wine producer such as France?
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel
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