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’.
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.”
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.