Showing posts with label Picpoul de Pinet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Picpoul de Pinet. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wine At L.A.'s Original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles is a great place to meet friends for a bite or a sip, when the weather's nice.  And when is it not, in Southern California?  It's an institution at 3rd and Fairfax, a sprawling, casual, outdoor shopping area that was built in 1934.  Although it has gone through some upgrades through the years, it's still here.  You can stroll up to any one of the many food booths for a slice of cuisine from every part of the world.  The one my wife and I keep returning to is Monsieur Marcel Bistro.

Elaine was with us, while Brian and his entire family, in-laws included, were at a nearby table.  It was festive enough even before the drinks came, and it got better afterward.  Brian insisted on buying us an ale from the nearby bar - Marcel carries only wine - and it was a hit, although no one thought to make a note of it.  I did keep track of the wines I tried, although I failed to note which Rhône blend Elaine chose to go with her tuna tartar.

The 2016 La Croix Gratiot Picpoul de Pinet is from France's Languedoc-Roussillon region in the southwest.  The white wine is made from 100% Piquepoul Blanc grapes, and is loaded with minerality and freshness.  It's reportedly known as the "Chablis of the South."  There aren't many places in Los Angeles where one can find a Picpoul on the list.

The wine's importer says that the name of the appellation - Picpoul de Pinet - is spelled differently from the grape - Piquepoul - because French wine law does not allow a grape name to be included in the appellation.

Next up was the 2017 Terra Nostra Rosé from Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean that is more closely identified with Italy.  There's little info I could find on the winery, but Marcel's list shows that the pinkie is made fully from Sciacarello (Sciacarellu in Corsica) grapes.  The grape is usually blended, not varietal, but they say it makes a smooth and spicy rosé.  They’re right.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Chateau Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet

People who stay inside their comfort zones with wine and only drink certain varieties are missing so much.  I rarely drink the same brand repeatedly and order offbeat or unusual varieties whenever I have the chance.  When I saw a Picpoul by Château Font-Mars on the list at my local deli/wine store, how could I resist?

The appellation of this wine is Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, from the Languedoc region in the south of France.  Picpoul de Pinet is a designation used in the Languedoc for wines made solely with Picpoul Blanc.  Font-Mars means "the soil of dinosaurs," and the property took this name due to the fossilized dinosaur eggs which are found there in the limestone and clay soil.

The wine sells for around $10 a bottle online and it cost $8 by the glass at Greenblatt's Deli on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The Font-Mars Picpoul is a pretty golden color and smells of minerals and wet straw.  The palate shows plenty of wet rocks, green apples and some floral notes and features great, refreshing acidity.  A spring day and a mountain stream come to mind.  The finish is lovely and long lasting.

The wine would no doubt be fantastic paired with scallops or any sort of seafood, but I had it with a grilled smoked applewood ham sandwich with potato salad, and I was quite satisfied with that pairing.  If only there had been a mountain stream nearby.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth

A while back this space contained a few words on sweet vermouth.  To recap, in the vermouth world, red is sweet, it's rosso, it's Italian.  White vermouth is usually dry, and usually called French vermouth.

Noilly Prat is produced in Marseillan, in southern France.  The basic wine is produced using white grapes Picpoul de Pinet and Clairette.  The wine stays in a huge oaken cask for eight months, then is placed in smaller barrels and put outside for a year.  The barrels are then brought inside and the wine rests for a few months, but they're not through yet!  Herbs and spices are then added to the wine every day for three weeks.

First produced in 1813 by French herbalist Joseph Noilly, this is the type of vermouth that's used in martinis and other mixed drinks.  According to an old joke, it can also left out of the martini to insure the drinks are so dry there's dust in the urinals.

Dry vermouth can also be enjoyed straight up chilled.  Try it with a twist of lemon.

The wine is straw-colored with a nose that's somewhat medicinal with honey, almond, nutmeg and pepper showing.  It tastes heavily of the spices - pepper, clove and nutmeg all come through strongly on the palate.  The 18% alcohol level is quite noticeable.