Taste Test: Picpoul

Known for its bright acidity and crisp fruit flavors, Picpoul (or Piquepoul) may just be the ideal summer wine. A varietal from Southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, it’s frequently used in blends, but unblended and very drinkable Picpouls have been finding more fans, with sommeliers adding it to lists and American producers experimenting with the grape as well. Picpoul’s high acidity makes it a natural match for seafood and other summer fare, and perhaps best of all? Most bottles go for well under 20 bucks. Scroll through the gallery above for seven of our favorites.

La Croix Gratoit Picpoul de Pinet, 2016
The Ricome family has been farming melons and grapes in Languedoc for decades but just started making wine in 2004. Their Picpoul is bright with the aroma of citrus zest and honey but has a less pronounced tartness and a slightly creamy mouthfeel. $11, whwc.com

Syncline Picpoul, 2016
A delightful domestic version from Washington state, Syncline’s Picpoul is incredibly drinkable, with a slight sweetness that balances the acidity and an aroma of green apple and herbs. $25, synclinewine.com

Domaine Julie Benau Picpoul de Pinet, 2015
Natural winemaker Julie Benau makes exceptional wines using grapes from vineyards near Languedoc’s noted oyster beds. Her namesake Picpoul de Pinet is expectedly bright and acidic, with lots of tart lemon and floral notes, but it also carries just a slight funkiness in aroma, like an ocean breeze. $13, hitimewine.net

Chateau Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet, 2016
A functioning vineyard dating back to the late 17th century, Domaine Font-Mars produces a bright, quaffable Picpoul with aromas of sweet tropical fruit and coconut. The acidity is balanced by a softer finish. $13, curtisliquors.com

Domaine Reine Juliette Picpoul de Pinet, 2016
Located along the edge of the Bassin de Thau, a large string of lagoons, the Domaine Reine Juliette winery benefits from a microclimate of cooling sea breezes. With notes of crisp, juicy apple and honeysuckle, their Picpoul is extra tart and snappy. $12, misterwrightfinewines.com

Domaine de Gaujal de Saint Bon Picpoul de Pinet, 2016
The mother-daughter team that runs this estate winery on the Mediterranean holds their Picpoul on the lees for seven to eight months before bottling. The resulting wine is refreshingly crisp with intense minerality and an almost savory character. $11, garnetwine.com

Copain Picpoul Blanc, 2015
This Picpoul from Copain in California’s Russian River Valley opens with aromas of sweet melons and lemon zest, with a gentler acidity and a salinity reminiscent of green olives. $42, copainwines.com