Picpoul is a relatively obscure grape from the Southern Rhone and Eastern Languedoc in France, though it has been around for hundreds of years. It is one of the 18, permitted varietals in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape, AOC. Spain also grows this varietal where it’s called Picapoll. It is high in acid, and known for its lemony flavors, hence the name Picpoul translated into English means “stings the lip”.
This varietal grows beautifully in Arizona and was recently planted at The Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College. One of my new favorites is the Keeling Schaefer, 2015 Puzzel Vine, Picpoul Blanc which hails from their Rock Creek Vineyard by the Chiracahua Mountains at a 5000 feet elevation. This refreshing white wine has 14.6% alcohol and displays notes of peach and apple with a nice long finish. It would pair well with Salmon and other seafood, especially those with creamy, buttery sauces. 135 cases were produced and I’d highly recommend it for summer. I promise, you won't get stung!
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours and is studying for her CSW and sommelier certificates.