More closely aligned with southern France's Languedoc region, the Picpoul Blanc grape has taken root in California's Monterey and Sonoma counties, as well as in places like Texas, Arizona and Washington state.
The grape's name has been said to mean "lip stinger" in French, a nod to its high acidity. However, a blogger named Miquel Hudin picked a bone online about that translation. The grapes in this wine were picked in the Beeswax Vineyard, in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County. Grahm says his grapes are slightly riper, less austere, and more aromatically developed than the French fruit.
Skurnik Wines writes that although it's impossible to smell the sensation of saltiness, the nose of the Bonny Doon Picpoul is "maritime, coupled with a discreet suggestion of peaches, wildflowers and the (we really can’t help it, but it's in there) ubiquitous fragrance of beeswax. This wine is utterly brilliant with the briniest oysters you can find or Dungeness crab." Savory salinity is a calling card in many of Grahm's wines.
There's some pretty cool label art on the bottle, done by Wendy Cook. Alcohol is remarkably restrained at 1% abv and the wine retails for $16.
This Randall Grahm wine gives a pale straw color in the glass. It smells like apricot and key lime, with minerals and salinity battling for attention. The palate brings citrus and apples to a savory backbone structured with earth and acidity. Oysters, crabs and calamari go well with it, but I've always liked the Picpoul grape with a ham and cheese sandwich.