Piquepoul/Picpoul Blanc

Origin: Southern France, around Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon. Not to be confused with Picpoul Gris or Picpoul Noir

Lip stinger

Loose translation of its name

Grown: France (Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon), Spain, Portugal, USA and Australia

Climate: Warm, Mediterranean climate

Soil: Sandy soils (saved the variety from extinction from Phylloxera)

Viticulture: Buds and ripens late, generally low yields and is susceptible to fungal diseases, but still not a troublesome grape to grow overall. Diminished in popularity after Phylloxera hit Europe but is on its way back. Especially since it is good at retaining its high acidity even in hot climates

Vinification: Good potential for sweet wines with its clean palate and high acidity, but not easy to find. Generally, no oak influence

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Picpoul de Pinet AOC

General Personality:

  • Colour: Straw with hints of green
  • Aromas: Lemon, pineapple, pear, mineral, floral notes like hawthorn blossom
  • Taste and Texture: Full bodied, high acidity and with a lingering finish
  • Conclusion: Before phylloxera ruined everything, Piquepoul was a rising star. It is still one of the 13 varieties allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and blended with Clariette it produced the wine Picardan which was extremely popular back in the 18th century. In modern times, it is more or less unheard of, but as people grow sick of familiar varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Piquepoul is waiting on the side-line, ready to introduce itself. With a mouth-watering acidity that allows for warm growing temperatures, it is definitely a variety for the future, even if no one can pronounce its name
  • Future: Drink now. Generally, only processed on stainless steel and not designed for further ageing

Food pairings:

  • General: A very aptly named variety, lip-stinger. The acidity will not pass by unnoticed. The variety has raptly grown in popularity in warmer climates (like California and Australia) where growers want a crisp wine to pair with their local oysters. Interesting and as it is being grown in new climates, it is revelling sides we have not seen before. A traditional Mediterranean seafood wine, but also has so much more to offer, especially when grown in the right region
  • Obvious pairing: Calamari
    Be it vegan or not, seafood and Piquepoul just works. This Fried Calamari is even better, and it is 100% free from calamari (which makes it perfect). With the fired batter, you need something fresh to cut through the fat, while you also need something to freshen up the pallet after all that salt. Well, Piquepoul does the trick! And then it is also flavoursome enough to be interesting with the mushroom centre, making it a perfect pairing. Add on some tartar sauce (horrifying or not, but most versions you can find in the supermarket are vegan since they do not add egg to cheap mayonnaise). Or if you want to avoid the oil, make your own. Either way, a perfect starter for any beach party
  • On the wild side: Old Man’s Mix on Rye Bread
    Some names should not be translated. It its homeland (the land of Ikea) it is called Kavring med Gubbröra. Which sounds equally as unappetizing, but do not let the name fool you. It is a simple egg salad with sardines on dark rye bread, which for us veggies out there, admittedly sounds wrong as well, but This Vegan Version is just amazing (google translate will have you sorted, just know that havrefraiche is equivalent to a vegan sour cream, not oats). I tried this dish years ago and became hooked after the first bite. And oddly enough, this Northern European classic, is a perfect match with a Piquepoul from Southern France (the world we live in is truly amazing). The capers give the dish a fishy feeling, while the sour cream helps to tame the acidity. In Scandinavia they are ridiculously found of their compact rye bread called Kavring, and if you have the time feel free to bake, otherwise normal rye bread works almost as well