Here we sit in the glorious state of North Carolina, housed due to an outside invader which threatens our well-being. While hundreds, possibly thousands of people across the country and around the globe battle this unseen enemy, we, the general masses are home, sheltered by the grace of our own roofs and walls. While we home school our children, limit our outdoor activities and practically shun our friends and family we search for something, anything to occupy our most precious commodity, time.
Thankfully, we do have a diversion, sort of a saving entity on which we depend more each day. This is something which cannot be taken away as it has been deemed necessary at every level of government. Yes, I am speaking about wine. That nectar of, and the gift from, the gods themselves.
France has always been a major producer of fine wines. Although it is mostly known for champagne, for which it does have a special affinity, France does produce many excellent whites and reds. Picpoul de Pinet is just such a wine.
This French import is actually from the largest wine producing region, Languedoc-Roussillon, known for producing good quality value priced wines of all types. Sparkling wines are abundant and were produced here even before champagne, while sweeter types using a muscadet grape or a quality sauvignon blanc will also call this region home. These grapes are grown by the sea, so weather-wise you have the advantage of warm, mostly humid and sunny days and cooler refreshing nights that really bring out a fresh taste. An interesting note also is that this wine is actually named for the grape and not the place where it is produced. Picpoul de Pinet refers to the white wines made only from the grape called Piquepol blanc. The vineyards are some of the oldest on the Mediterranean where the piquepol grape is in a constant battle with the winds. But is is a very hearty grape which has managed to survive for centuries. Now, don’t confuse its heartiness with a lack of delicacy. This is really a spectacular, dry wine with flavor as attractive as its appearance in a glass.
You will not find a more refreshing wine at this price anywhere. Perfect for sitting at the pool or with a light summertime meal of a delicate flounder, shrimp or trout, a light chicken dish or a pasta primavera, this subdued, slightly green colored wine will help bring out the best for you and your guests. It is a citrusy wine that balances both sweet and tart perfectly with a hint of grapefruit and lime with a splash of melon to cut the acidity perfectly. With certain recipes it will actually neutralize any saltiness or iodine in shellfish with its delicate and fresh flavor.
This is a new wine to me but has become a favorite because at this time of year, I kind of look for a lighter more refreshing drink than I would say, in December when something heavier and more robust is called for. Actually, I only bought it originally because the bottle is attractive, which is a reason many people use to try a wine with which they are not familiar. But make no mistake. You will not be disappointed with this. More flavor than a traditional pinot grigio, which sometimes can be almost airy, but full of a flavor which will not disappoint.
OK. So maybe we are stuck at home, locked in our homes for a while yet. But we don’t have to feel so sorry for ourselves, or be so ornery. We are civilized people and we can still enjoy some of the finer things which hermitage has to offer. Relax and raise a glass. This too shall pass. And when it does, we will hopefully be more educated and more at peace with ourselves.