Friday 16 January 2009

Picpoul de Pinet and seafood

This sumptuous display is at La Brasserie Barba, a spectacular fish shop and restaurant in a somewhat unprepossessing location oposite Casino supermarket in Beziers. Their best-selling white wine to compliment this yummy seafood is a local speciality, Picpoul de Pinet, the languedoc's equivalent to Muscadet. Like Muscadet, Picpoul de Pinet is made from grapes grown near the sea, just inland from the Bassin de Thau, south of Sete. 

The grape is Picpoul (or Pique poule) which translates as 'lipstinger' in Occitan, referring to the acidity in the grape must before it is fermented. This acidity translates into freshness in the finished wine which, when balanced by pure fruit flavours of lemon, apple or pear, mineral and sometimes even brine, provides a perfect partner to the oysters farmed in the Bassin de Thau. I love the whistle-clean freshness of good Picpoul and plan to visit there in the next couple of months to try the 2008s. Producers of note include the cave co-operative at Pomerols, Domaine Ludovic Gaujal/Domaine Peyreficade, Domaine Gaujal de St Bon, Chateau St Martin de la Garrigue and, last but not least, Domaine Felines Jourdan.

A word about labelling - the full appellation name is AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet.  Picpoul de Pinet is only for white wine and is a named cru within the sprawling Coteaux du Languedoc appellation. A rather complicated name for a wine whose main attraction is its simplicity.


  1. Juliet, I loved our visit to these vineyards. I am a Picpoul fan without a doubt these days. Thank you for the education once again!

  2. I recently discovered Domaine Bridau that's just south of St Martin de la Garrigue. It is slightly aromatic and would be interesting to taste in a Picpoul line up. If nothing else it's just €3,60 from the vinyard but isn't available in any local outlets.

  3. I don't know Domaine Bridau but I'll look out for it. Thanks Graham.

  4. Seafood is really healthy, however is difficult find places, where you can get it of excellent quality. BTW, just like an extra information, seafood could be an aphrodisiac.