La Chapelle du Bastion Picpoul de Pinet 2021
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Picpoul de Pinet, with vineyards spreading over 3,500 acres, is the largest white wine appellation of the Languedoc and its own AOC since 1985. It is located in the Herault department, west of the Mediterranean “Lion’s Gulf”. The area forms a triangle bounded by the cities of Agde, Pézenas and Sète. The vineyards are planted around the Thau lagoon, which is the largest oyster pond in Europe, fitting as it pairs best with shellfish. Chapelle du Bastion is produced by a group of growers located in Florensac.
The grape is unique to the Languedoc region due to its warm and dry climate, as the region sees over 300 days of sun a year, making the wine as unique as its signature bottle shape.
Harvesting takes place at night to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and preserve the grape from oxidation. The whole vinification process occurs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on the lees for a minimum of 4 months. There is no malolactic fermentation to maintain good acidity and allow the full expression of the Piquepoul.
Sipping a glass of crisp white wine in the Mediterranean heat is an instinctive reflex, one which the inhabitants of Languedoc have met with the Picpoul grape since Roman times. The grape, widely planted until the late 19th century, became bound to the sandy soils around the Étang de Thau coastal lagoon during the phylloxera epidemic, where the root-sucking American louse cannot thrive. Picpoul de Pinet is one of the few AOCs in the Languedoc where only one grape is allowed, but the refreshing, mouthwatering quality of the wines makes clear why.
Late to ripen and high in acid, Picpoul (whose name means “lip-stinger”) does well in the coastal heat where aridity reduces the threat of downy mildew and the sea-scented breeze imbues the wine with seafood-friendly salinity. Made to be drunk young, with a fresh floral, citrus and herbal character, it will go down equally well by itself or in the company of brandade, octopus, or ceviche!
Picpoul remains one of the few wines in France named for the grape more than the place; Picpoul de Pinet refers to the white wines made exclusively from the grape called Piquepoul Blanc in the Languedoc communes of Pinet, Mèze, Florensac, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac and Pomérols. Confusingly, the spelling, Piquepoul, can be used for the variety in all other appellations except for those named above. The grape is ubiquitous throughout the Languedoc. Somm Secret—Pomérols is a commune in the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France and has nothing to do with the Bordeaux village of virtually the same name, Pomerol.