Wines: The pick of Picpoul
Picpoul de Pinet is one of the few dry white wines in France's Languedoc region to be made from a single grape varietal. Piquepoul is sometimes used as a blending grape in the neighbouring Rhône regions, valued for its mouth-watering lemony acidity.
However, in its solo state, the dry wine of Picpoul de Pinet has a grapefruit and salty character making it a perfect partner with local salted and oily fish dishes and platters of charcuterie and hams highlighted with olives and sun dried tomatoes.
1) Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Baron de Badassière, Languedoc 12.5pc
Scented with freshly squeezed lemon. An electrifying palate of crunchy green apples, kumquat and tongue-tingling acidity.
€15.99 in Dublin at Fresh (Grand Canal Square, Smithfield, Camden Street & IFSC); Martin's, Fairview; Drink Store, Manor Street; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street; Egan's, Drogheda and The Wine Well, Dunboyne.
2) Picpoul de Pinet 2014, Domaine Sainte-Anne, Languedoc 13pc
Fragrant with ripe melons. The initial salty mineral flavours are overtaken swiftly by lemon zest but well balanced by the moderate alcohol.
€13.90 online at winesoftheworld.ie
3) Picpoul de Pinet 2014, Saint Peyre, Languedoc 12.5pc
Minty herbal aromas. Very smooth and a mellow peach palate with refreshing acidity.
€15 at Higgins, Clonskeagh; The Vintry, Rathgar; Deveney's, Dundrum; Martin's, Fairview and Gerry's Supermarket, Skerries.
4) Picpoul de Pinet 2015, La Croix Gratoit, Languedoc 12.5pc
Distinctly mineral and herbal notes underpinned by fresh lime juice and peel.
€15.99 in Dublin at Drink Store; Leopardstown Inn; Fallon & Byrne and Mitchell & Son, CHQ, IFSC.
5) Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Villa Blanche, Calmel & Joseph, Languedoc 12.5pc
Invigorating acidity is integrated into the layers of fresh apple, lemon zest and white fleshed fruits.
€14.99 at Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson Street and Baggot Street Wines.
6) Picpoul de Pinet 2013, Domaine La Serre, Languedoc 12.5pc
Depth of salty minerality contrasted by zesty citrus fruits finishing with a tasty tangy aftertaste.
€11-€12 in Dublin at Jus de Vin, Portmarnock; The Drink Store, Manor Street; Nolan's Supermarket, Clontarf and Morton's, Ranelagh.
On Wednesday, September 28, Tuscany comes t Tankardstown when the aristocratic Castello Banfi winery showcases their wines in Slane, Co Meath. It accompanies a five-course Tuscan-inspired dinner created by gifted chef Rob Krawczyk, in Tankardstown House's Brabazon Restaurant. The gourmet dinner, including five wines, costs €65 per person. Special rates include B&B with the dinner from €145-€175 each sharing.
Bookings: Helen Byrne; tel: (041) 9824621; tankardstown.ie
My personal favourites from Lidl's French Wine Sale:
Alsace: Rieslings 2015, Ernest Wein and 2013 Grand Cru, JP Muller; Vieilles Vignes Gewurztraminer 2015.
Bordeaux reds: Chateau Croix des Ducs 2014, Chateau Pey de Pont 2012 and Chateau La Raze Beauvallet 2012.
Rhône reds: Vinsobres 2015 and Côtes du Rhône Vieille Vignes 2015. Pyrène region's Comté Tolosan 2015.
All under €13 at 146 Lidl stores nationwide, while stocks last.