Yet Another Summer Wine Value

The Back Story:

As you may have gathered by now, I’m a big promoter of two trends in wine: local production and organic and sustainable winemaking. Usually I discover these facts about a winery before I try their wares, as I actively seek out local and organic wines. This time, however, I didn’t figure out this particular wine was organic until the second bottle around, after I’d already taken my notes on it.

Which wine? Chateau Petit Roubié‘s 2009 Picpoul de Pinet. An impulse buy as I dashed through my local organic food shop (Weaver Street Market), the Picpoul was a varietal I hadn’t had in some time, and I wanted to rectify it in a hurry. I was pleasantly surprised by its complexity and crispness. As you also may have gathered, I love a high, aggressive acidity in my white wines despite my propensity for getting heartburn. When this shop gets in a new wine, I’m always eager to try it.

Certified organic since 2001, Chateau Petit Roubié embraces a poetically simple organic attitude:

Feed the soil to feed the plant, stimulate the biological activity of the soil, help the plant to resist disease and pests without contaminating the environment, avoid trace residue, maintain as far as possible an integrity with regard to the natural surroundings. These are the basic objectives of biological farming.

Petit Roubié claims Picpoul as their AOC. While they offer their red varietals of Alicante, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Merlot, and Syrah and white varietals of Carignan Blanc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Sèmillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Terret Bourret, and Viognier as vin de pays in the spirit of their region, their wine proudly contributes to the 2000 year old Picpoul tradition as a village wine in the area.

You can explore all the producers in the Picpoul de Pinet region here. For now, let’s focus on the wine at hand…

The Results:

Chateau Petit Roubie Picpoul GlassThe appearance of the wine is a light golden color with a medium viscosity and a slight green tint.

The nose of the wine is comprised largely of citrus and orchard fruits, though there’s a floral component. Lemon and pear are largely featured, as is a slightly sweet honeyed scent.

The mouth feel of the wine is on the heavier side of medium-bodied, with a tangy, full, creamy texture.

The flavor of the wine is very full, very crisp, very dry, with massive fruit forwardness, primarily citrus. Green apple and lemon match a puckering acidity very well on the attack, and pineapple and mineral flavors persist through the finish, which is moderate. The wine is bone dry but well-balanced. They say “drink it young at 8°C”, or under 50°F, and this is assuredly a drink-now affair; it’ll do just fine practically right out of the fridge tomorrow. The wine’s flavor did suffer heavily as it warmed, so make sure you keep this one on ice.

For the Casual Drinker:

This is yet another strong, refreshing white wine built for the summer days. It’s a value buy, not just a bargain, at $11, as my mate Steve Paulo at Notes From The Cellar will gladly and bluntly differentiate. It delivers a beautiful balance, a full-bodied flavor, and a complexity beyond the typical Sauvignon Blanc-esque summer fare. With pleasant, agreeable citrus flavors and a palpable acidity, it’ll make a good pairing for any of your spicy seafood endeavors. Just make sure you keep it cool… the wine begins to lose its crispness and takes on a bitter flavor as it gets warmer.

The Conclusion:

This might be one of those wines where a subjective concept of balance comes into play. Personally, I love the acidity on this wine, though it might  be offputting or overwhelming to some palates. I believe it sustains the flavor very well without contributing a sour or bitter undertone. If acidic wines are your thing, Picpoul is a varietal for you, and this particular one is a great value look at a very focused, up-and-coming wine-making region in Languedoc. 7/10

In Case You Missed It:

Wine: Picpoul de Pinet

Producer: Chateau Petit Roubie

Region: Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France

Varietal(s): 100% Picpoul

Vintage: 2009

Residual Sugar: unknown

Alcohol: 12.5%

pH: unknown

Price: $11

Purchased at: Weaver Street Market (Hillsborough, NC)

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9 Responses to “Yet Another Summer Wine Value”

  1. Ben Simons Says:

    I lament the fact that there really isn’t a store in Lubbock that carries Picpoul de Pinet, as it is a really great Summer sipper. By any definition, I think $11 is a great value for a good Picpoul.

    • wineaccguy Says:

      Honestly, it’s one of the first I’ve seen at that price point, and the fact that I found it in a non-wine-specialty shop rather excites me for the future of Picpoul as a growing varietal. I wonder if there are any places in the US that are capable of growing it well. Maybe Texas?

  2. spokanewinemagazine Says:

    The reason I like ratings and descriptions together. From your rating, I can tell it’s a decent buy, but from your description, it’s probably not a wine I would enjoy. I like the addition of the “in case you missed it” section. Good quick bullet facts! Executive summary kind of deal!


    • wineaccguy Says:

      Thanks, man. I was inspired by yours and Ben’s review sections after I realized that I left out some very important information (specifically, the name of the wine) from a review that I wrote in a hurry. It also makes me scour the internet and the bottle for all the pertinent information.

      And I agree on the ratings and descriptions together… until you really get a sense of what someone’s palate prefers and how often it matches up with yours, you can’t trust the ratings alone.

  3. Joe Says:

    The description of the vineyard practices sounds oddly “sustainable” vs. “organic” (to me).

    Picpoul’s one I haven’t had before- at least in a varietal bottling. Sounds like it would high-five a crab boil or some oysters nicely.

    • wineaccguy Says:

      Really, it’s a combination of the two. Regardless, they’ve paid their dues to get their organic certification, so I’ll take them at their word.

      Picpoul is nice. I can see where it would generally need to be blended to soften its characteristics, but as a single varietal, yes, it would kill with some pungent seafood quite nicely.

  4. jason Says:

    Just had a Picpoul de Pinet myself and found it a pleasant change of pace from the many New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s I’ve been drinking as of late. Both are aggressive but this one with a mineraly acidity. I need to pair my next bottle with some oysters!

    • wineaccguy Says:

      Absolutely, Jason. I’m a huge Sauvignon Blanc enthusiast, but I was definitely looking for something that offered the experience without the grapefruit or gooseberry. This definitely fit the bill, and the minerals combined with the aggressive body made for a refreshing and pleasing experience.

  5. A Delightful Spring Sipper: Picpoul De Pinet « wine(explored) by wine(accessorized) Says:

    [...] given a few of these guys a try, and in fact reviewed one last year, and I wanted to share my experience with another one with you “Sauvignon  Blanc [...]

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