Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG July 17th tasting: Lip-stingers?

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A word of Occitan/French origin, piquepoul is usually translated as “lip-stinger.” The grape variety is reportedly so named due to its high acidity.

Languedoc 2013, Picpoul de Pinet, Château Saint-Martin de la Garrigue ($19.15, 11460045)
100% Piquepoul Blanc from vines averaging 25 years old. The grapes are picked late in the season, pressed, macerated ten hours on the skins, then cold settled and racked into the fermentation vessels. The slow, temperature-controlled fermentation is followed by four-months’ maturation on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks. 14.5% ABV according to, 15% (!) according to the label. Quebec agent: Bergeron-les-vins.
Lemon, quartz and chalk, hints of honey and paraffin. Very dry but fruity, with lots of extract. Electric acidity keeps things fresh. An herbal/floral note – think lemon verbena – perfumes the mid-palate while minerals come to the fore on the bitter-tinged, lightly saline finish. Surprisingly cool, with no alcohol apparent on the nose or palate. Puts the lie to the old saw that Picpoul is the Muscadet of the Midi. Would make a fine pairing for grilled fish and shellfish but is also substantial enough to accompany a local specialty, encornets à la sétoise (aïoli not optional). (Buy again? For sure.)

Languedoc 2013, Picpoul de Pinet, Ormarine, Maison JeanJean ($13.50, 266064)
100% Piquepoul Blanc. The grapes are pressed and macerated on the skins, then allowed to cold-settle. Enzymes are added for enhanced aromatics. Low-temperature fermentation involves selected yeasts. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. Maison JeanJean’s website is broken so I can’t verify, but this appears to be made by the Cave de l’Ormarine and to be very similar if not identical to their “Carte noire” bottling. Quebec agent: Sélect Vins.
Lime zest, pear and passion fruit. In the mouth, a light spritzy prickle, straightforward fruit and some creaminess. Crisp if not as vibrantly acidic or minerally as the St-Martin. Short finish and a faint buttery aftertaste. A perfectly correct, simple wine that wowed no one around the table, though a few did say they’d buy it as a cooking wine they could also drink in a pinch. (Buy again? Unlikely, especially as my go-to cooking wine runs about $3 cheaper.)

Written by carswell

July 22, 2014 at 11:16

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