The Paul Mas Estates Picoul de Pinet is a single vineyard Estate wine grown near the town of Pinet overlooking a Bay on the Mediterranean in the Languedoc District in the south of France. Picoul is the grape varietal and it is one of the oldest Languedoc grapes (it is also grown in the Rhone Valley), but it is hard to grow and not particularly disease resistant, several 100 years ago it was one of France’s top white wines, but it fell out of favor and has only recently enjoyed a resurgence. The Languedoc is the largest wine growing region in France and most of the wine produced in the Languedoc is consumed in France, the United States imports only 2% of their wines. Which is another reason you do not see bottles of Picoul on store shelves in any great numbers. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is the same as the light syrup in a can of Del Monte pears. The nose is wonderful, it is the scent of an orchard in full bloom, pears, apples and apple blossoms. This is a food wine, it is tart and crisp with a solid acidic edge. It starts with green apple, apricots, lemon, grapefruit and a touch of pears dipped in honey. The mid-palate adds a slap of minerality and some kiwi. The finish is strong and the acidity helps it linger for a respectable length of time.
Ok, so you are saying to yourself, “Why do I need to know about an oddball grape from the south of France.” Well, because this is a wine made to be paired with seafood and shellfish prepared in the Mediterranean style. In France, wine is a main component of any meal and when shellfish (shrimp, crab, mussels) is on the menu, Picoul is likely to be on the table. Picoul is not a well known grape in the US, and therefore not in great demand, so a single Estate vineyard wine like the Paul Mas should sell for around $10. But just because it is not on America’s top ten wine list does not mean it won’t take your next meal at that little BYOB restaurant to new heights.