Cult Insider

EDITION 009 | JULY 2023

Picpoul de Pinet celebrates 10th birthday with a new aged wine

Written by - Pierre Anderson, Logistics Manager - Cult Wines

Picpoul de Pinet is one of those wines that you know, no matter what bottle you pick up, will be bloody good! This impressive reputation has come about in a short space of time. Although the first recorded mention of the native varietal, Piquepoul, can be traced back to the late 1300s, the little area of the Languedoc became an AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée) a mere 10 years ago.

To celebrate its 10th birthday, the AOP shipped across some of its best bottles and winemakers to London for a tasting, which I was fortunate enough to attend. I learnt a great deal about not only the area’s history but also what is in store for the future.

What is Picpoul de Pinet?

Picpoul wines are famed for their vibrancy, lemon-rich acidity, lip-smacking quality, and tanginess. They’re perfect wines for seafood, summer or sitting in the garden at the end of a long day!

Easily recognizable, the wines come in bright green Neptune bottles, stamped with the Cross of the Languedoc, a tradition started in the 1990s. Affordability is another point in its favour; it’s always great to find a quality French white wine without having to sigh at yet another price increase as is often the case with Chablis or Sancerre.

Piquepoul vines are grown close to the Mediterranean Sea, with locals calling the area a ‘Merroir’ instead of Terroir because of the saline mineral notes often found in these wines. Limestone, clay, silt, and sandstone soils are all found across the appellation and add a deep mineral-rich quality to the wines. The AOP covers just over 1,500 hectares and is the only appellation in the Languedoc that solely produces dry white wines with only 24 registered producers.

Piquepoul is a late-ripening varietal with very high acidity and seems to be naturally resistant to drought. Just in case though, the AOP are funding genetic research in order to see what can be done to maintain Picpoul’s output in the face of our ever-changing climate.

A quick numbers breakdown shows the importance of the UK market for Picpoul de Pinet. Of the 11.5 million bottles produced annually, 95% get sold for consumption within the same year of release. The majority (85%) of the wine is sold in bottle, something that is changing slightly to more sustainable alternatives like Bag-In-Box (BIBs). 67% of the wine produced is exported, with 41% of that going to the UK market, making us their largest consumer (1/3 of total production). For me, this demonstrates the importance of the UK for wine trading and consumption, and the importance of the British palate to judge wines of great quality.

The 10th anniversary tasting

In the tasting portion of the event, I was amazed by Picpoul de Pinet’s variety. Lemon acidity and saline minerality were clear constants in all the wines along with a well-rounded medium body. Wonderful herbaceous notes of fennel, aniseed, rocket, and aromatics of almond blossom and yellow flowers also popped up in some of the bottles.

It was not until I tasted the Patience wines that I realised just how much Picpoul has to offer. Described as a concept rather than a style or denomination, these wines have some subtle differences to the traditional Picpoul de Pinet style. Firstly, they’re bottled in brown glass instead of bright green but still stamped with the Cross of Languedoc. The AOP says that the wines must have some lees ageing, which means the natural yeast are kept in the wine to add depth. The Patience wines must spend at least one year in bottle before release. These rules were introduced in 2018, and since then there have only been nine cuvées with more expected in the years to come.

Domaine Felines Jourdan was a pioneer of this style, and I was fortunate enough to try its 2021 Patience. The elegant complexity was evident on the nose, with beautiful notes of white blossom, anise, orgeat, with the high citrus acidity persistent on the palate, concentrated flavours of preserved lemons and grapefruit, and herbal notes of tarragon on the finish.

The AOP’s reason for highlighting and promoting Patience is to improve the credibility of the area and its wine by showing Picpoul can create complex, gastronomic, and age-worthy wines. Clearly, this is a terroir to look out for in the future, and fear not if you see a brown bottle of Picpoul de Pinet; pick it up, for it may offer you a tasting journey you were not expecting but are sure to enjoy!


News in brief

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50 Cent’s Sire Champagne inks grower agreement

Rapper 50 Cent’s Sire Champagne, which is an affiliate of Sire Spirits, signed a sourcing agreement with Terroirs et Vignerons de Champagne (TEVC), the largest grower cooperative in the region. The agreement means TEVC will produce unique wines for Sire Champagne’s two products - Le Chemin du Roi Brut and Le Chemin du Roi Rose.

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Chianti Classico officially approves 11 sub-zones

Bottles of Chianti Classico’s top rank – Gran Selezione – can now carry the name of the specific Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (UGA) as part of amendments to the DOCG’s regulations. The move had been expected and is part of an effort to highlight individual terroirs within this historic Tuscan region.

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Argentina boasts world’s best vineyard to visit

The World’s Best Vineyards website announced its annual list of top wineries to visit from around the world. The Mendoza region’s Catena Zapata landed in the top spot thanks to its stunning pyramid-shaped winery, tasting and hospitality experiences and, of course, its Malbec and other fantastic wines. Marqués de Riscal in Rioja came number two while Bordeaux’s Smith Haut-Lafitte ranked fifth.


Alexa Atkinson, Web Designer - Cult Wines - Domaine Stéphane Magnien Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Cuvée Aux Petites Noix 2012

What we’re drinking

Domaine Stéphane Magnien Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Cuvée Aux Petites Noix 2012

Alexa Atkinson, Web Designer - Cult Wines

  • • This delightful wine is perfect for sharing and will surely add a touch of elegance to your gathering. The rich fruit flavours and velvety texture complement both vegetarian and meat dishes. I enjoyed this wine with a hearty mushroom risotto, the perfect combination.

  • • As you sip this wine, you'll appreciate its refined tannins, harmonious finish and captivating aromas of ripe red berries, dried figs, and delicate floral notes with enticing baking spices.

  • • The domaine is known for its dedication to traditional winemaking techniques and a deep respect for the land. Stéphane Magnien, the winemaker, follows organic and biodynamic practices to ensure a pure expression of the vineyard's unique characteristics in each bottle of wine. This approach reflects a harmonious relationship between nature and winemaking, resulting in wines that truly represent the terroir of Morey-Saint-Denis.


Our fine wine feature

Pinot Bianco: “Stocker Method” elevates this often misunderstood gem

Written by - Yue (Daphne) Chow, Client Account Manager Singapore - Cult Wines

“So which one is your favourite among these wines?” Huber from Cantina Terlano put me on the spot with this question. As I struggled to find the right words, it struck me that I had been misunderstanding Pinot Bianco for far too long, and an instant sense of regret washed over me.

I had always thought of Pinot Bianco from Northern Italy as a simple happy hour staple – crisp, refreshing, and unoaked; perfect for unwinding after a day's work.

But oh, how wrong I was. Cantina Terlano’s Terlaner Weißburgunder Alto Adige DOC 2010 Rarità arrived to shatter my preconceptions.

As its name suggests, this exceptional Pinot Bianco is a rare treasure that undergoes a transformative decade of aging using the revolutionary "Stocker Method." Developed by Sebastian Stocker, a former winemaker at Cantina Terlano, this technique involves aging white wines on fine lees in pressurized steel tanks for an astonishing 10 to 30 years, producing something truly extraordinary.

Pinot Bianco: “Stocker Method” elevates this often misunderstood gem

Immersing myself in the "Stocker Method," I discovered that this 2010 Rarità had undergone malolactic fermentation and lees aging in large wood barrels for 12 months, followed by an additional 11 years on the lees in steel tanks without filtering or fining. The result was astonishing – a wine that defied time, evolving and intensifying in flavours over the years.

On the nose and palate, a harmonious marriage of extreme complexity and delicate elegance awaited me. An impressive white bouquet mingled with scents of citrus, apricot, and a subtle touch of yeast, all elevated by discreet flint aromas. Like a mesmerizing symphony, the wine enchanted my taste buds, leaving behind an unforgettable finish, delicately wrapped in a gentle layer of waxiness. Decanter magazine seems to agree, describing it as "unbelievably fresh for its age and will continue to develop."

Just as I was beginning to appreciate the beauty of this aged Pinot Bianco, Huber unveiled another mysterious bottle. This time, we engaged in a guessing game to identify the vintage. Swirling the liquid in my Burgundy glass, I confidently placed my bet – at least 15 years old.

Alas, my guess faltered once more, revealing the 2013 Nova Domus Riserva – a mesmerizing blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. A marvel that went through slow fermentation in big oak barrels, followed by partial malolactic fermentation and aging on the lees for 12 months. It captivated me with an enchanting herby aroma, a delicate waltz of sage and mint, entwined with luscious white peaches, apricots, and melons. This multifaceted wine’s creamy mouthfeel harmonized with aromatic minerality, leading to an incredibly long and blissful finish.

My visit to Cantina Terlano proved to be an eye-opening experience, dismantling my misconceptions, and illuminating the hidden brilliance of aged Pinot Bianco. In addition to Cantina Terlano’s know-how, the climatic extremes in Italy’s alpine region as well as unique quartz porphyry bedrock of volcanic origin also contribute to these wines’ extraordinary qualities.

These misunderstood gems have earned my utmost respect, and I fervently hope this tale inspires you to venture into the rich world of wine, transcending the confines of usual stereotypes. So, let us raise our glasses to the unexpected, the rare, and the extraordinary. For within these discoveries, we find ourselves entwined with a beloved, and often misunderstood friend - a wine we've longed to explore.


Explore & travel

Eat. Sleep. Drink... Burgundy!

Written by - Olivia Bodle, Head of Events - Cult Wines

The greatest wine regions of France couldn’t be more different from one another. Burgundy has small producers, quaint towns and tiny restaurants. It’s very distinct from the grandeur of Bordeaux or the glamour of Champagne. Visits to producers have always been notoriously difficult to secure. But the region is still very much worth a visit with plenty of places to taste, eat and enjoy!

Beaune is in the heart of Burgundy, and I could happily spend a week here getting lost in the winding streets of the medieval town centre, enjoying the plentiful restaurants or exploring the buzzing wine bar scene. The historic Hospices de Beaune in the town centre is a must-see focal point. Founded in 1443 as a hospital for the poor, the stunning gothic building now hosts the wine trade’s most significant charity auction held annually in November.

The towns to the north of Beaune (Gevrey Chambertin, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits st Georges) are small and quieter. Meursault to the south is beautiful with sandstone buildings dotted with restaurants and bars, making it well-worth a visit.

Eat. Sleep. Drink... Burgundy!

Here are a few highlights from across the region to put on your list:


Beaune is busy in almost every month of the year and if you visit in summer, I recommend reserving tables.

  • La Dilettante in Beaune – very small with an eclectic wine list.
  • Bistro Bourgignon in Beaune – beautifully presented local dishes with a modern twist.
  • La Toute Petite Auberge à Vosne Romanée – they buy their wines directly from top tier local producers, resulting in an unbeatable wine list as well as a great wine shop.

Wine bars
  • L'Arche Des Vins in Beaune
  • Enstace in Beaune – wine shop with a restaurant on Thursday & Friday nights.
  • La Parenthèse in Beaune
  • Philippe Bouzereau in Meursault – a lovely terrace overlooks the Meursault vines.

Producer visits
  • Domaine Joseph Drouhin in Beaune – one of the biggest names in Burgundy makes this an important stop. Visits require prior appointment.
  • Domaine Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-Georges – one of Cult Wines’ favourite producers welcomes visits by prior appointment.
  • Maison Champy in Beaune – a range of tastings and experiences offered to the public are listed on their website.


Five new 5-star hotels are due to open in the next 12 months in Beaune so keep your eyes open for them. However, busy Beaune already has a handful of great options as do the quieter surrounding towns.

  • L'Hôtel de Beaune in Beaune – if you’re staying in the heart of Burgundy, you might as well do it in style at this lovely 5-star hotel.
  • Rôtisserie du Chambertin in Gevrey Chambertin – this traditional hotel boasts two restaurants including Michelin-starred La Table d'Hôtes.
  • Château de Chassagne Montrachet – stunning property surrounded by vineyards in Chassagne Montrachet.
  • Hotel Spa La Cueillette in Meursault – a luxury hotel and spa situated in a grand chateau nestled amongst the vines.


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