I seem to be enjoying a lot of Picpoul this summer. It is such an easy refreshing drink – and these days there is barely a restaurant in London that does not have Picpoul de Pinet on its list. So the other reliable and inexpensive source of Picpoul de Pinet is the other main cooperative of the appellation, namely the coop in Pomerols, which has diversified its offering of Picpoul in recent years. Originally there was just the one cuvée, but they have worked on a selection of better plots and encouraged their members to produce better grapes.
2016 Picpoul de Pinet, Beauvignac – 5.50€
This is their basic entry level wine, with a simple vinification, a cool 10 to 15-day fermentation, followed by some lees contact, to make a firm stony meral wine, with fresh fruit and good acidity. Hugues de Beauvignac was not, as you might expect, a local lord, but a fictional character, said to be a Cathar knight!
2015 Cuvée Anniversaire – 6.10€
This comes from a selection of slightly older vines, 25 years or more, with more work on the lees and a longer élevage. Consequently, there is more weight on the palate, more depth and good firm stony fruit.
2015 Cap Cette – 6.80€
This is my favourite of their Picpoul, with a richer, more exuberant nose, more leesy fruit, more weight and a firm slightly bitter finish, which is the hallmark of good Picpoul, with some salty notes. Quite simply it makes a lovely glass of Picpoul.
Picpoul fût de chêne – 11.80€
This cuvée is aged in wood for six months in wood, with a percentage of the wine also fermented in wood. The nose is quite firm and the palate quite solid and earthy with nutty overtones and some acidity on the finish. It is not for me; the oak overwhelms the essential characteristics of good Picpoul.
2016 Picpoul Brut Méthode Traditionnelle – 9.00€
Light colour, with quite a firm salty Picpoul nose, and the palate was quite earthy, with a touch of honey. Again not for me, but an interesting diversification to show what can be done with Picpoul. The still wine is sent to a producer in the Rhône valley to be turned into bubbles.
2016 le Moelleux, Côtes de Thau – 4.80€
The Pomerols coop is also an important producer of the local IGP, Côtes de Thau. Usually their sweet wine is a pure Picpoul but the 2016 vintage includes a bit of Colombard to give some acidity. The fermentation is stopped by chilling and the wine filtered, leaving 35 – 40 gms/l of residual sugar. The colour is pale and the nose and palate lightly honeyed with some fresh acidity.