Domaine de Castelnau 'Terroir Marin' Picpoul De Pinet 2020
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Critic Scores & reviews
"Subtle yet intriguing rocky, mineral nose which opens up into green apple and melon. Slatey, mineral, smoky palate with a twist of citrus pith and lemon curd on the finish. Really drinkable but at the same time some good complexity to keep you coming back for another glass."
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Languedoc-Roussillon is oft called by the abbreviated 'Languedoc' - It's the coastal region of southern France from Provence to the Pyrenees Mountains and borders with Spain. With over 3 times the amount of vines than the entire of Bordeaux it's a vast region that produces a lot of wine. Vin de Pays d'Oc and sparkling Crémant de Limoux are two of its most famous exports.
The regions history when it comes to wine is a long a rich one, however it is also home to some of the newest AUC appellations in France, like Cabardès, which was only officially recognised in 1999. The region is a haven for enthusiasts of wine on a budget, for it is here you can find some remarkably high-quality wines without breaking the bank. Given the higher amount of sun hours experienced in the South of France, the wines coming from there are more full bodied and rich than from other more prestigious regions.
In the recent past (1970's) Languedoc region was known to produce vast amounts of cheap wine that didn't help its reputation region at all, however a steady improvement now sees it responsible for producing some great value wines that are generally blends, though not entirely so. Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Carmenere, Cinsault and Picpoul are some of the most common widely planted varietals. Grower cooperatives produce some remarkable wines alongside their more traditional winery neighbours.
Picpoul de Pinet
Picpoul de Pinet is an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) within the Languedoc region of France. The AOC takes its name from the indigenous grape variety Piquepoul Blanc, and the area produces white wines exclusively from this grape in the communes of Pinet, Mèze, Montagnac, Florensac, Pomérols, and Castlenau-de-Guers. It is a thin-skinned, drought-resistant grape that retains high acidity when ripe. These white wines are greenish-gold in colour, have a delicate nose, display lemon flavours, and boast a full-bodied palate.
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About the brand Domaine de Castelnau
Owned by the Lord of Guers from the 13th century, the Domaine de Castelnau has very ancient origins. Since 1997, the estate belongs to Béatrice and Christophe Muret, thus carrying on the legacy of their wine-growing forefathers.
The Languedoc, a thousand-year-old region, surviving the phylloxera pest of late 19th century and taking advantage of the 20th century overproduction, has nowadays the most renowned grape varieties blooming on its soil: Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir et Picpoul.
Situated halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Massif Central foothills, 4kms away from the historical city of Pézenas, the Estate vineyard extends over plains and garrigues. While the fine sand, clay, or silt carried by the nearby running Hérault waters give fresh and fruity White and Rosé wines, the Red wines develop their full maturity on the clay-limestone hillsides. The Etang de Thau, not far away, bathes its influence on the Picpoul de Pinet plots.
The centuries-old walls of the Domain contain a modern winery. The grapes harvested at full maturity, the limited use of sulphites, the ageing on lees and the centuries of knowledge behind the estate give birth to fresh, smooth and nonetheless featured wines.