Picpoul de Pinet is a relatively small sub-appellation within the Coteaux du Languedoc. The vineyards are located in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, not far from the beach resort of Sete, which is southwest of Montpellier. Most of the wine produced (over 80%) comes from four large co-ops in the region. Like some other Mediterranean whites, Rolle (aka Vermentino) and Assyrtico, Picpoul thrives in the hot climate and holds its acidity and freshness well. In fact, the name Picpoul is derived from the French words "picque," meaning sharp, and "poul," meaning lip...and thus was born "lip stinger."
Domaine Gaujal St. Bon is a small estate-bottled operation run with extreme diligence by the mother-daughter team, Simonne and Virginie Gaujal. They are proud defenders of Picpoul, and endeavor to make the finest examples of the variety in the appellation. Yields are kept in the 40 h/h range, while 60 h/h is permitted (and often exceeded).
They ferment with "neutral" yeasts that bring out the true character of the grapes themselves without artificially accentuating specific traits. The wines are fermented in tank but held on the lees a full 7 to 8 months before bottling, often twice as long as most other Picpouls. The resulting wine is any thing but simple in its texture, complexity, zippiness, and impressive staying power. It is thanks to folks like the Gaujal ladies and the Guibert family of Mas de Daumas Gassac that we are able to enjoy the truest expressions of Mediterranean terroirs and the Picpoul de Pinet grape.