Here we have a 2011 Picpoul from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Picpoul is a white grape that is typically grown in southern France in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc-Roussilon regions. It’s name literally means “stings the lip” which makes sense because the picpoul grape is naturally very acidic. I like to think of picpoul as an aperitif wine, it’s too light to stand up to a big meal. I find it goes well with things like cheese and crackers or gougere. Another good thing about picpoul is it’s extremely cheap. You should never be paying more than $10-12 for a good bottle. If you’re looking for a light white to start an evening a picpoul may be a great choice. As you can see in the picture we enjoyed this bottle with some nice honey goat cheese and crackers along with some company.
MobyGrape: 75. Despite being incredibly fun to say, this wine was meh.
It was fine with the appetizers we had and a great way to start the
night, but otherwise it didn’t do a whole lot for me.
colonelgrape: 84. I agree with Moby that there isn’t much to this wine but that’s what picpoul is…it’s a nice way to start the night with a light, crisp, and refreshing wine. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of flavor but some nice acidity and mild fruit notes will get your palate going. For what it is…and costing $10…I think this was a good example of the grape. I wouldn’t do a whole bottle for two people…it would be better to share with a group and everyone has a small glass. I don’t think I could ever give a picpoul anything higher than an 85 though, there just isn’t enough to talk about.
This is a regional Burgundy white wine that I was recommended at the Vin Bin a few weeks ago. A regional wine is one that uses grapes from a variety of different villages and vineyards across a region. Therefore you can have a variety of different tastes in a regional Burgundy because the grapes may be primarily from Chablis, Maconnais, Cote de Beaune or any of the other regions. However what we do know about this wine is that it is 100% Chardonnay…as are most Burgundy Whites. Regional wines are often cheaper than than a standard villages or cru wine but sometimes can offer similar quality…if you find a good one it can be a diamond in the rough. This bottle was only $18 wheres the majority of white Burgundy is $25-30+. We enjoyed this wine with pan seared salmon, green beans, and rice.
colonelgrape: 75. Completely average unoaked French Chardonnay. It wasn’t awful it wasn’t great…nothing too special about it. Had fruit nose of apple and pear and some acidity but it really just didn’t do it for me. Still trying to figure out these Chardonnays…I like the idea behind them, a firm dry white to stand up to heavier meals, but I haven’t found the one for me yet.
MobyGrape: 70. Would have named this one Chitty with a soft C. Tasted
like crappy chardonnay to me, not quite rat piss but I didn’t really
enjoy it. If it wasn’t for the food I would have had a hard time with
Let’s start with a little fact check/geography on this wine because as we’ve seen in the past the French assume you know you’re wine geography when they label their wines and that makes it very difficult for the average consumer:
Wine Type: Pinot Noir
Geography: Burgundy –> Cote d’Or –> Cote de Beaune –> Volnay –> Clos des Chenes
Producer: Pere & Fils
Now that we’ve got that down let’s talk about the wine. We enjoyed this wine on Christmas eve with a beer can chicken, stuffed mushrooms, and twice baked potatoes with gruyere cheese.
colonelgrape: 91. I really enjoyed this wine. It had a very nice ruby red and not too dark color with tastes of ripe cherry and minerals balanced by excellent acidity. There was a bit more tannin than expected but it was still smooth and had a long tasty finish. Definitely not as in your face as the Mercurey we tasted last month. I’d recommend this with any light-medium non-red meat meal.
MobyGrape: 73 – I’m not sure how well I remember this one, it was pretty
dry as I recall and I didn’t get much fruit from it. Worked well with
dinner but I don’t think I would enjoy it on its own very much.
Moscato d’Asti is an Italian sparkling white wine made from a white variety of Muscat grapes called Muscato Bianco. It’s typically thought of as a desert wine due to it’s sweetness and low alcohol content (5.5% in this case) however I also think it can work as an aperitif. Here’s where it gets slightly confusing:
Asti: A region of Italy in Piedmont; Also a sparkling white wine made from Muscato Bianco
Moscato d’Asti: Like Asti (the wine) however less sparkling and less alcohol. Also made from Muscato Bianco.
Aperitif: Alcoholic beverages normally served before a meal.
As you can see Asti can refer to the region of Asti or the sparkling white wine. I have no idea why they decided to do it that way but they did and now we have to deal with it. What’s the difference between Moscato d’Asti, Asti, and Champagne? Two things: First, Champagne can only come from the Champagne region in France, regardless of the wine itself. Second, the true difference is the way the wine gets it’s sparkling properties. Champagne uses secondary fermentation and Asti wines use the Charmat method. It’s a long and detailed story describing the methods but if you’re ever curious look them up!
We decided to open this bottle as an aperitif on Christmas eve since two of our guests are not into non-sweet wines (I’ll have to work on that). We enjoyed some nice honey goat cheese and crackers and the wine was great:
MobyGrape: 89. I thoroughly enjoyed this guy! I tend to enjoy
the sweeter varities of sparkling wines, and this was just sweet
enough without being overbearing, and wasn’t too fizzy so it was
perfectly fine to have with appetizers or really light meals. It was
the Goldie Locks of sparkling wine for the evening. Just right. I
feel like this would pair well with french toast, and it’s light
enough to enjoy with a nice brunch.
colonelgrape: 85. Full disclaimer: I am not a huge sparkling wine fan as we know so take my rating with a grain of salt. That being said…this Moscato d’Asti was quite good. I liked how it was only semi-sparkling compared with Champagne or Asti…sometimes the bubbles are too much for me, I don’t even like soda that much. It had nice fruit notes and was very mild. I personally prefer Port, Sauternes, or Ice Wine for my desert wines but this would do nicely and it worked well as an aperitif. I don’t think I’d want it with a meal though, it’s so mild I think it would be overpowered easily.
All right ladies, the old ball and chain is keeping you waiting and you proooomised to wait for him to drink the good wine that evening. But you’ve had a long day and a beer just won’t cut it. What’s a thirsty gal to do?
There’s only two ways for terrible wine to redeem itself in my book. This is one of them. Meet the Calimocho. I picked this up over in Spain, thanks to an unnamed bartender who unknowingly changed my drinking life forever (for the better). I believe the conversation went something like this…
Me: “Señor, how do you make this heavenly bebida?”
Bartender: “Guapa, this is an ancient Spanish recipe. Come with me, I will make passionate love to you and share all of my secrets. I can’t believe it’s not butter!”
Me: *Swooning* “Sí, sí!”
Ok, so that’s not really how it happened, and my fantasies may be getting a little mixed up. It was more like I asked what the hell I was drinking in broken Spanish (give me a break, it was the beginning of the trip), and I was told to use the cheapest red wine I could find, and the nicest cola I could, and mix them together 1 to 1.
Mind = Blown
Does it sound disgusting? You betcha! Is it glorious? You have no idea! I’m trying to find the silver lining in the Beaujolais Nouveau cloud. And I have to say it turned out pretty well. I went straight up half wine, half Coke, but you can change up the proportions depending on how you’re feeling. So congratulations Beaujolais Nouveau, you have a new lease on life in my fridge! Salud!