Piquepoul is a wine grape variety grown chiefly in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc regions of France and in Catalonia region of Spain.
This variety exists in two different colors of berries. The dark-skinned ones are called Piquepoul noir and the light-skinned ones as Piquepoul Blanc. Piquepoul Blanc is the most common of the Piquepouls.
Around a thousand hectares of the same variety is cultivated in France. It has three main synonyms Piquepoul, Picpoul and Picapoll.
Piquepoul has an extended account in the Languedoc state and along with Cinsault and Clairette Blanche is known as one of the oldest domestic grape varieties of the same region.
It was used to prepare the wine Picardian in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by blending with Clairette Blanche.
However, Piquepoul lost its popularity due to its vulnerability to fungal diseases like as powdery mildew and its short yield after the Great French Wine Blight. Piquepoul tends to bud late and is sensitive to mildew.
Origin of the Piquepoul grapes
Most scholars of today believe that Piquepoul (Picpoul) belongs to Languedoc state of South of France, where it is still found even now.
After the phylloxera foray at the end of the nineteenth century, Piquepoul had been stopped to be replanted. Today it is famous for Picpoul de Pinet which is a crisp, light-green wine of the Pinet region in the Coteaux de Languedoc.
In early 1618, Piquepoul was stated to be as Languedoc grapes by the botanist J.B. Maniol in his work Sylve plantarium.
The Picpoul de Pinet wine region lies in Languedoc. Right in west of the Mediterranean, it is a triangular area, and holds historic as well as beautiful cities like Agde, Sete and Pezenas as its points.
The vineyards are located at the top of the limestone plateau surrounded by the most beautiful, perfumed and soft leaved; low Mediterranean bushes called garrigue and other pine groves.
But the production of the renowned Picpoul de Pinet is limited in little petite villages close to the Bassin de Thau. This region has been producing very high class mussels of France. Picpoul de Pinet is an exceptional French white wine at a modest price.
Baron de Badassiere – Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc 2015 75cl Bottle€7.79 Find Merchant
Domaine Felines Jourdan – Picpoul de Pinet 2013 75cl Bottle€11.60 Find Merchant
Domaine la Croix Gratiot – Picpoul de Pinet Coteaux du Languedoc 2014 6x 75cl Bottles€49.39 Find Merchant
Hen-pecked Picpoul De Pinet€10.10 Find Merchant
Characteristics of Piquepoul Wines
Piquepoul cultivation is suitable to dry climates. The end season humidity helps the grapes to fill out and finish ripening.
As stated before, they have a tendency to mildew. They look crystal clear with some green highlights; though can turn more golden with time.
They taste soft and delicate nose with pleasant traits of acacia, hawthorn blossom. They are delicate and fresh in the mouth and have a brilliant acid/structure balance.
They tend to counteract the salt and iodine in shellfish, and are surprisingly good with rich cheese and charcuterie.
In vineyards, Piquepoul is not a tricky varietal to raise. It pushes before time, making it somewhat prone to frost, although ripens relatively tardy. Besides Roussanne, Picpoul is generally the last white varietal to be brought in, just before Mourvedre at the end of October.
In wineries, it is fermented in neutral barrels to complement the wines brightness with a bit of roundness.
Food Pairings with Piquepoul Wines
What can you match it with, is the question? This is a superb wine for pan-fried fish, and delicate white fillets. Most prefer it with fish and seafood; specifying scallops, smoked prawns, oysters and bouillabaisse, though people claim to enjoy it with chicken livers and mushrooms on toast too.
Salmon with capers and butter salted cod with potato hash ham croquettes are good dishes to enjoy with it. Sweet cheese and pasta makes a combination.
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