Picpoul de Pinet Wine
We first tasted Picpoul de Pinet at Le Phare restaurant near Montpellier in February 2004 as the guests of the then mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Pierre Boisson. We had never heard of this local speciality at the time but it must have made a favourable impression as we listed an excellent example from Domaine Gaujal the following year. Today, Picpoul de Pinet enjoys a widespread following on these shores but at the time it was at the forefront of the cutting edge and we felt like we were claiming new ground.
Situated on the sandy soils of the Mediterranean coast beside the salt water lagoons of the Bassin de Thau, the Piquepoul grape flourishes in free-draining vineyards that benefit from plentiful sunshine and cooling sea breezes. It is a variety that has a naturally high acidity so yields zesty, palate-cleansing wines that work well as an aperitif or partner to shellfish – specifically the local oysters and mussels. Here, Laurent and Audrey Gaujal cultivate 63 hectares of vines whose fruit they vinify in their cellars in the commune of Pinet itself. The Gaujal family have been vinifying wine at Pinet on the border of the Bassin de Thau since 1744 - their cuvée 'Ludovic Gaujal' is named after an ancestor who created the estate. Current patron Laurent Gaujal is the eleventh generation of his family to practice viticulture. With a pale colour, uplifting citrus aromas and a steely dry palate with a long, elegant finish, his Picpoul de Pinet is a classic of the genre. It drinks well from release but can mature nicely over a couple of years after vintage.