An exchange I heard last summer at a local bar during lunch has stuck with me for almost a year now.
“Ew, I’m not going to date him.”
“He’s a Sauvignon Blanc drinker!”
At which point I glanced down at the glass of wine in my hand and died a little inside.
Sauvignon Blanc has set the standard for summer sippers among the acid-cravers among us. “When in doubt, go with New Zealand” is the mantra for those of us who crave a wine drier than the Sahara when perusing a wine list in the outdoor seating of a restaurant in summertime.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
A grape that’s beginning to grow in popularity in the New World is Piquepoul Blanc, grown almost exclusively as a varietal wine in the Picpoul de Pinet region in France, though it is permitted as a blending grape in Chateauneuf du Pape. One of the oldest grapes cultivated in Languedoc, Piquepoul Blanc takes its name from the incredible acidity of the grapes “piquing” the lips of those who drink it. It’s a reliably dry, citrusy affair, and the controlled, limited production of the grape ensures an even better average quality than Sauvignon Blanc.
I’ve 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 Drinkers” to see if maybe there’s another white wine out there for you. You know, just in case it’s hindering your dating life.
Today, we’re covering the 2009 Font Mars Picpoul de Pinet, a wine that I was delighted to see on the menu of West End Wine Bar in Chapel Hill.
The Picpoul de Pinet has a very light straw color with a spectacular luminosity. The nose is very appealing, though much, much less fruity than other Picpouls I’ve tried, with a very minerally, soapy scent. It’s like swirling a glass of creek water with a slice of lime dropped in it.
As far as the mouth feel is concerned, it is extraordinarily tangy, extremely dry, with a very full texture, though the acidity feels lower than other Picpouls. The flavors are bright and crisp, with a burst of minerals on the attack with all the flavorful grace of a wet rock. The lime flavor comes forward after the initial minerals fade away along with some light tropical notes, though only the lime remains lingering on a medium finish. I want to describe the flavors as delicate, but they’re hefty enough to balance out a decent acidity.
Probably the best way for me to describe this wine is “delightful, but plain,” a term that easily applies to 99% of New World Sauvignon Blancs. At $12, it’s a decent value and sure to please the dry white palates in your life. 6/10
My next goal? Try a New World Picpoul. Tablas Creek has one. Maybe I’ll see what Paso Robles has in store for me…
The Wine: Picpoul De Pinet
Producer: Chateau Font Mars
Region: Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux du Languedoc, France
Varieties: 100% Piquepoul Blanc