Week 9 – Picpoul Blanc

Tasting Notes

Emma says: “The 52 grape challenge has hit new heights this week. I sit here with my chilled glass of Picpoul but it should be a Chardonnay because I’m as lonely and sad as Bridget Jones.

The aptly named “Storm Emma” has divided Andy and I to opposite snow bound sides of London. As a result I’ve opted for a bottle from the trusted local offy. Whilst Andy is heading to his local bar with another lady. I would be offended but I know it is the nearest Picpoul in about a mile’s radius to him…

So this week’s test is not just about the grape but whether it is as satisfying to try a wine alone as it is in company. At first sniff this is quite a herbal Picpoul, almost Sauvignon-esque in its grassy notes but not as pungent. There is also a fresh sea air kick to the aroma that gives it a freshness that intermingles with a base of limey fruits. On the palate it is bone dry and mouthwatering with similar zesty fruits, so this is a wine that will really appeal to the dry white fan base. But what I like about Picpoul is how it also has this creamy interior which has a nice gentle herby fennel bulb note. It isn’t the most complicated of flavour profiles but it is totally thirst quenching. Plus if you are getting bored of Sauvignon and want an alternative I think this is a dry white that has a little bit more subtlety than a lot of modern Sauvignon styles. And in comparison to your Italian dry whites you could argue it has more character.

It is a gift for food matching to white fish or creamy sauces. Don’t go for powerful flavours where its flavours would get lost.

And how was my experience of drinking alone? To be very honest I like to taste a glass without distraction. I find myself drinking less and tasting more. It is truly the moment I can savour a glass. Sorry Andy!

Wine was: Camp de Rousse “Picpoul de Pinet” 2016 £11
Handy hint: there is a big shortage of Picpoul in 2017 due to rising demand for this rediscovered white and a very short harvest. So buy it while you can…”

Andy says: “As mentioned by Emma, the week’s events have conspired against us and we’ve had to taste different wines.

I don’t know what to do. We don’t collaborate on notes – that’s the basis of the website – but I realise now that seeing Emma’s initial reaction has perhaps been seeding my reviews. So here I go without her. Strap in, hold on tight, and don’t quote me on anything, as it’s likely to be factually and scientifically incorrect.

I tasted ‘Grange des Rocs, Picpoul de Pinet 2016’, the Picpoul of choice in my local bar. I found it to be fairly sour/limey, dry, and well, a little rough. I think ‘rustic’ is the term. There was a bit of a burn, and it felt more than the 12.5% on the label. I sensed a little tingle on the tongue, which initially I thought was CO2, but after a few sips more I decided it wasn’t and that the wine was ‘as flat as a pancake’.

Emma has told me that the same sensation can indicate (residual?) sugar, so my guess would be that they’ve tried to balance some acidity with extra sugar, which might explain some of the burn. This is where Emma comments and tells me how wrong I am.


I then did a bit of a Google, and apparently it’s a natural wine, so maybe I was right with the rustic comment, as it just wasn’t smooth. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was about £21 for the bottle, so probably around the £5 mark in supermarket terms. In summary, I’d be pretty sure that you could get a better Picpoul at the same price point. It tasted like generic white wine, wasn’t offensive, and did what it was supposed to do.”

Buying Guide

This week we’re asking you to seek out the trendy new white of the moment. It comes from the South of France so head to the French white section and look for a tall thin bottle which is particular for this wine. It should stand out and have Picpoul de Pinet clearly labelled on the front.

16 thoughts to “Week 9 – Picpoul Blanc”

  1. (catch-up!)

    Wine – Baron De Guers Picpoul De Pinet, 2016 (Sainsbury’s £7)
    Bottle says – Zesty, fragrant, fresh citrus, minerals

    Really fresh and citrussy on the nose, slightly grassy with a hint of salty sea-air, and definitely inviting. This is one of those wines that promises more complexity than it delivers, but is still delicious. The flavour I got was cantaloupe melon and lemon initially, with a herby, wet stone quality on the finish. I bet this goes really well with seafood, but I drank it with a globe artichoke (melted butter and balsamic mayonnaise dips) and it was fantastic. This wine reminds me a little of muscadet, not so much in the taste, as it has much more character, but in the way that it is a consistently good, reasonably priced wine, where you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good example.

  2. Posting late, but better late than never! I tasted a Picpoul de Pinet 2016 Domaine Guillaume Cabrol. Notes of honey, mango, slight apricot and citrus. Smooth and light-bodied, yet lack of acidity making it seem flabby. It had a beautiful nose but flat on the palate. Still, happy to have tried it!

  3. The local wine merchant said “You want a what????, Is that like Boones Farm?”. We ordered from the Wine Merchant online….
    Mas de Daumas Gassac Picpoul de Pinet 2016 (unoaked)
    This wine had a green apple aroma and a medium yellow gold color. Apples lime and pear were predominate flavors. Slightly acidic with a light creamy finish.
    Interesting substitute for a Pinot Gris or Reisling. If I found myself in the south of France I would try a Picpoul de Pinet again.

  4. Picpoul de Pinet Les Canots 2016 12.5%

    This is a lovely bright pale green in colour.

    On the nose it has a slightly spritzy smell which delivers slightly honeyed, mellow, round fruit.

    The palate has been destroyed by half a box of chocolates but i am getting fresh appley flavours on top of a lightly honeyed, grapey body and light acidity.

    The finish is not very exciting, with some bitters flavours on top of thin fruit.

    Does nothing for me, but good to know what it tastes like.

  5. I tasted Camp De Rousse Picpoul De Pinet 2016 and liked it very much
    I like a sauvignon, but having tasted this wine , I think this would be a good alternative to a sauvignon for me in the future
    I found it a lovely crisp light wine, slightly fruity, but not at all sharp. Great with fish or chicken.

  6. I recently discovered Picpoul and rather like it, but I couldn’t get into this one. It might be because it’s a blizzard outside so not really the ideal setting (I’m thinking of a nice little seafood joint overlooking a scorching Mediterranean harbour side…).

    I tried Les Canots Picpoul de Pinet 2016, 12.5%, £8.49 from Waitrose. It was pale straw and crystal clear. The nose was light, clean and youthful. Lemon, lime, green apple, and a bit of herbaceousness thrown in. Did someone say sea air? I’ll take it. Pleasant if not massively interesting.

    To taste, it was dry with high acidity. Lovely and light if not hugely flavourful. Again, citrus fruit, green apple, and a touch of green herbs. A steely but short finish. Pleasant, but one to try again in the summer.

  7. There was one major problem with this wine – the hubby (Phil C from climbing, Andrew) liked it and I had to share!!!
    Not one for trying new white wines I will be stocking up on this one. I got the Baron De Guers from Sainsbury’s which at £8 was well priced. Zesty and citrusy with a refreshing after taste, went well with our mussels and is equally as good on its own – should have bought 2 bottles!

  8. It is one of the classic we have with friends when eating sea fruits. The local production Ormarine (with a black label) is the best one I know. Price has increased a little in the last two years.

  9. Picked up Picpoul de Pinet 2017 from M&S. I’m going to keep this succinct……zesty and awful!
    Maybe it’s because I’m not a Languedoc local washing down my bouzigues oysters but this wine was poured down the sink!

    Roll on next week, next grape

  10. My local had just one example of genuine Picpoul de Pinet, quite cheap at $au26.
    I presented it blind to a group of wine-loving friends. One of them thought initially it was a Clare riesling and I was not surprised, but the nose was not that of riesling. The nose suggested apples, raising the possibility of Chenin or Gruner. We all enjoyed the lean, acid palate, and I guess it was true to the description of the variety I had seen in Jancis’ book on grape varieties. But I’m afraid we didn’t pay the compliment of purchasing a few more bottles. This is fun, and I am looking forward to more new varieties in the weeks to come.

    1. Hi Ian,

      Great to have you on board and to have some notes from the other side of the world. I know what you mean about Riesling and Picpoul sharing similar aromas, I think it is the lime zest quality they both have. Glad you are enjoying taking part in our adventure and looking forward to hearing more form you.


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