Beaujolais and Picpoul de Pinet.
Two Well Recommended Examples
Roux “Domaine de la Plaigne’ Beaujolais-Villages (DOP) 2017, 13%
This Gamay, from a small family run vineyard, has a mid to dark ruby colour. Aromas are quite intense with berries (raspberries, red currants and black currants in the mix) prominent. The palate is fruity and round, all in harmony right through to the persistent finish. Nothing unexpected really and the importer’s description sums it up very well indeed: “Delicious, gives simple, but immense pleasure in a typical good Beaujolais fashion.” Highly Recommended.
The Roux owned Domaine de la Plaigne covers more than 15 hectares in the commune of Régnié-Durette, right in the heart of the Beaujolais wine region. Wine-growers father and son, Gilles and Cécile, represent the 4th generation, and since 2014 their son Victorien has joined them on the estate. They all get name-checked on the bottle.
Grape: 100% Gamay
Character: fruity and harmonious
Ideal for all occasions from aperitif to cheese. Serve at 14 degrees.
Winemakers: Gilles, Cécile and Victorien Roux.
Vines: Average age - 65 years
Serve with: Lyonnaise salad, prepared pork products, poultry, leg of lamb, entrecote steak with Beaujolais sauce.
Montredon Picpoul de Pinet (AOP) 2019, 13%
Crystal clear but with attractive strong green/gold highlights. That’s the “colour scheme” of this Picpoul from the designated area along the shores of the Med. Aromas are apple and pear, peach and lime. Made 100% from the Picpoul grape, which translates as “stings the lip”, it is known for its high acidity. But the grape has much more than that going for it. It is fresh, flavourful, with good weight, and there’s a hint of minerality in with that acidity. This lip-smacking refreshing wine is a Highly Recommended example.
Picpoul is an ancient grape but the disease Phylloxera almost did for it until the French discovered it could thrive on sandy soil. Hence its renaissance in the Languedoc. It is no surprise, then, that Picpoul is to be found only in coastal vineyards such as those which surround Pinet and the Etang de Thau (lots of oysters here, conveniently!), just west of Montpellier. According to Wine-Searcher, there are a few vineyards in Portugal and Spain growing Picpoul, although there it goes by the names Picapoll and Avello.
Picpoul de Pinet is splendid with seafood and shellfish as well as other traditional Mediterranean dishes. It neutralises the salt and iodine in shellfish and other crustaceans, and is surprisingly good with rich cheese and charcuterie. It’s best drunk young and cool (between 8-10°).
Producers Bruno and Christine Cantie of Domaine Montredon own 55-ha, with 20-ha planted with Piquepoul. Their style is for classic, text-book dry and crisp Picpoul, wines that are ideal with the local seafood – oysters and mussels in particular. You’ll find them about halfway between Narbonne and Montpellier. By the way, there is no link between this producer and the Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer Domaine de Mont-Redon.