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Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet 2002
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.
One of the only wines in France actually named for the grape and not the place, Picpoul de Pinet refers to the white wines made exclusively from the grape called Piquepoul blanc in the Languedoc communes of Pinet, Mèze, Florensac, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac and Pomérols. Confusingly, the spelling, Piquepoul, can be used for the variety in all other appellations except for those named above. The grape is ubiquitous throughout the Languedoc-Rousillon region, and produces a light-bodied, dry and aromatic white.
In the Glass
The wine is light gold with green reflections and bursts with aromas of white flowers and candied lemon. Flavors are lean and crisp, reminiscent of white peach, melon and lime zest.
A warm sunny day is the perfect pairing for this wine but for food, swordfish, shellfish and pasta with butter or olive oil and parsley work fabulously.
Pomérols is a commune in the Languedoc Rousillon region in the south of France and has nothing to do with its Bordeaux village of virtually the same name, Pomerol, known for its gorgeous Merlot-dominated red wines.