Hugues Beaulieu brings us this picpoul from the Languedoc region of France, an area best known for its reds but with also, it turns out, the potential to turn out a surprisingly tasty white.
I’d never had picpoul de pinet before (seriously, have you?), but this is a classic summer wine that I will have to add to my repertoire immediately. Fresh and crisp, it’s like a cross between sauvignon blanc and viognier, with the tart acidity of a lime-infused sauvignon blanc and a subtle taste of peaches and apricots. Lightly bodied and very fresh — best served (in my opinion) extremely cold, as the minerality of the wine lends it a bit of bitterness as it gets warm.
Best of all is the price: 10 bucks gets you a bottle of Hugues Beaulieu’s finest. (Of special note: The name of the producer appears nowhere on the label, the only hint are the initials “HB” at the base of the bottle (slightly different bottle shown at right which includes the full producer’s name). Try any picpoul if you’d like to get started with this intriguing varietal.
A- / $10