2017 JULIE BENAU PICPOUL DE PINET
The Benau family bought their property, a 16th century fortified farmhouse in the south of France, in 1980 and, for the next twenty years or so, they sold all their grape production to the local co-op. In 1999, when their young daughter Julie returned home, they began bottling some of the wine on their own and at her insistence they are aiming for only the highest quality. They are adapting their vineyard work and are making investments in the cellar with the goal of increasing the quality and as the quality merits, bottling more wine.
Picpoul de Pinet is an appellation composed of 6 communes in front of the bay of Thau, near Sète between Bezier and Montpellier. The land is rich with rocky soil and hillsides producing sunny and noble wine. The vineyards are planted only with Picpoul, which Jancis Robinson says comes from “pique poul” meaning “lip stinger” due to the high acidity in the grapes. James Wilson disputes this and suggests that piquepoul is in fact another name for the Folle Blanche of Armagnac and Cognac – another ‘lip stinging’ grape. In any case, Picpoul is known for its high acidity and since at least the 17th century it was blended with Clairette to give that grape some spine. All of the vineyards in Picpoul de Pinet share a southern exposition, are sheltered by inland hills from the NW wind, enjoy lots of sunshine and the moderation of summer heat by humid ocean breezes. (Importer)
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