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 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.
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
Residual Sugar: unknown
Purchased at: Weaver Street Market (Hillsborough, NC)