It's a blog for winelovers. It's a blog for slackers. It's the lazy drinker's reference for cheap, high value wines. You know, the bargain wines you just don't know if you should take a chance on; maybe in the supermarket or drug store. If you want advice on grand cru, well, everyone knows where to get that: get yourself one of those slick, expensive mags. This is a blog, man; prices and spellings are the best we can do, but, don't hold us to 'em. Photos are under copyright.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's out of season for white wine, supposedly, but the 'slacker just needs to let his loyal readers (he says sooo bitterly) know about two of the nicest white's he's come across this year, as the year is quickly fading into ignomy. First, he's been meaning to mention this Southern France rarity since he popped the cork many months ago. He found this little gem at Long Beach's little gem of a store, Vin De Pays. It's a place that really cares about wine and it's fans that don't have so much money that they can just look in those slick, expensive magazines (you know the ones) and order a case or two. So, you can imagine that they click with the Wineslacker. No wines over $15 a bottle. Let the 'slacker say that again. No wines over $15 a bottle. The store is just barely visable in the block South of Third and Elm in the East Village Arts district of downtown Long Beach, California. Give 'em some business, folks, we need them! Telephone: 562-495-4499.

The wine the 'slacker is pushing is from the Languedoc region of Southern France, along the French Mediterranean coast. It's made by Domaine Des Lauriers in the small commune of Castelnau di Guers, and it is made from the Picpoul de Pinet grape. See, you learned something by logging on to the Wineslacker. Now, if you've never heard of the Picpoul variety or of Coteaux Du Languedoc, you are not alone. Even Robert Parker had only two minor references to Picpoul in his voluminous Wine Buyer's Guide, 5th edition, published in 1999. We're talkin' 1657 pages of information about wine. But it is an old, if not considered nobel, wine, long established in the torrid Mediterranean area. This inexpensive, but lovely, wine was made to sip chilled, on the patio, in the hot Summer days anywhere along the Equator to the Tropic of Capricorn. And dollars to donuts, this will be a delicious pair up with delicate white fishes or oysters, half-shell.

The other white wine the 'slacker quaffed this week was about as well known as the last was obscure. La Chablisienne advertises itself as 2002 "Grande Cuvee, Chablis Premier Cru". Awfully big words in French. Well, we couldn't find it in Parker, but, as always, we saw, we sniffed, we drank, and, by god, it was good. The Wineslacker wouldn't drink this with anything else. Maybe some nice, white, seeded bagette. But this is a layered and subtley delicious wine that you'd just rather not cover up with food. It was undoubtedly Chablis, real French Chablis, from Chardonnay with no oak within a hundred meters, and the neatest mineral finish. It's a real wine experience that we picked up at
Costco, in Torrance, California for a mere $16. Have at it. Do somebody a favor and give it for Christmas, Kwaansa, whatever... maybe just because you like them.

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Blogger The Bize Knees said...

Great blog. I would love to add a recently published article on a great white wine form the Languedoc.

Picpoul- the little known wine with a great future

This rare little gem of a white wine can be found in the Languedoc, France. Its full name is Picpoul de Pinet. Situated on a limestone plateau, the vineyards of Picpoul overlook the oyster and mussel-farming centre of the Thau lagoon. The white wine is made from a single Piquepoul grape variety and is a light acidic wine, with floral and citrus fruit aromas, which render it an ideal accompaniment to seafood. The AOC Coteaux du Languedoc: Picpoul de Pinet classification applies only to white wines.

Picpoul is a rare, ancient French grape that thrives in the coastal sands near Sète in the Languedoc, by the Mediterranean Sea. Its blend of refreshing acidity and aromatic fruit flavors of citrus and peach, make it a fantastic, full-bodied wine to enjoy with food. It is particularly well suited to seafood because it has more floral flavors than a mineral wine, like a Sancerre. Unlike Voignier, another rare French white grape, Picpoul has not yet been exported much and is consumed almost exclusively by the locals and tourists who vacation in the area.

This clear, light-gold wine breathes appetizing aromas of peaches, juicy and fresh, with a back note of lemon-lime. Crisp and tart, white-fruit flavors and lemon-squirt acidity are fresh and cleansing in a very long finish. Not overly complex but bright and appealing, it's a first-rate seafood wine. It has been called the Muscadet of the south of France. It is the wine that is usually served with oysters that can be found along the coasts of the Languedoc.

Serve very cool between 6 and 8°C to accompany all seafood, shellfish and fish. It can also be served as an aperitif, either alone or with a touch of crème de cassis (blackcurrant) or crème de mûre (blackberry).

Picpoul Blanc (also spelled Piquepoul Blanc) is one of the lesser-known Rhône varietals. It is one of the thirteen permitted varietals in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is used primarily as a blending component to take advantage of its acidity. Like the better known Grenache and Pinot, Picpoul has red, white and pink variants, though Picpoul Noir and Picpoul Gris are very rare. Literally translating to “lip stinger”, Picpoul Blanc produces wines known in France for their bright acidity, minerality, and clean lemony flavor.

Most scholars believe Picpoul is native to the Languedoc region of Southern France, where it is still found today. Records from the early 17th century indicate that it was blended with Clairette (another white Rhône varietal) to form the popular sweet Picardan wine (not to be confused with the Chateauneuf du Pape varietal of the same name), which was exported by Dutch wine traders from Languedoc throughout Northern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the phylloxera invasion at the end of the 19th century, Picpoul was not widely replanted. Today it is best known from Picpoul de Pine, the crisp light green wine of the Pinet Region in the Côteaux de Languedoc.
So, when you are next in the Languedoc, or looking for wines in your Wine merchant’s store, take a serious look at wines from Picpoul. You will not be disappointed!
Some other folks who have spoken about this great wine.
Let's stay with the theme of Wednesday's article to talk about yet another good-value favorite that I enjoy rediscovering when each new vintage arrives. This one's white, and it's French: The always appealing, still affordable Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet from the Coteaux du Languedoc, now widely available in its 2003 edition.
Another of the offbeat grapes that I love to explore, Picpoul is native to Southern France, from the Languedoc to the Rhone Valley, where it's one of the 13 varieties permitted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Its name, I'm told, translates as "the lip-stinger" of Pinet, a jocular compliment to the tart, high-acid (and thus decidedly food-friendly) wines that it produces.
Always crisp and citric, it's a classic "summer sipper" that many of my friends use as a seasonal "house wine." As far as I'm concerned, its affinity for seafood - and its price - make it a winner all year 'round. The warmth of the 2003 vintage across Europe shows in this vintage as a peachy, aromatic ripeness, built on a signature lemony citric snap that I've found consistent over many years of enjoying this wine. (European readers should note that "Hugues Beaulieu" is the U.S. label for this wine, sold in Europe as Hugues de Beauvignac.)
Have a look at this good blog about the wine…

Neighbouring Languedoc also produces some great dry white to go with the Mediterranean's vast palette of salads and seafood dishes. With its crisp acidity and bone dry fruit, the little-known Picpoul de Pinet is perfect for washing down oysters and mussels from abundant lagoon of tang de Thau. While most of the Picpoul goes the way of a captive local audience, there are some good value examples that make their way over here, such as the refreshingly zippy, dry and tangy 2005 Chteau de Branger Picpoul de Pinet, Cave Co-op de Pomerols (pounds 4.49, Booths).
Further info on

May 01, 2007 12:34 PM  

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