2021 Les Equilibristes Picpoul Blanc
Region: Languedoc < France
Grapes: Picpoul de Pinet
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: biodynamic farming; soils are calcareous/clay, 6 week cold ferment in stainless steel tanks then aged in old oak barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 13.5% ABV
Winemaker: François de Monval and Florent Girou
Les Equilibristes (the “Tightrope Walkers”) are François de Monval and Florent Girou. François is a wine merchant and restaurant owner in Paris, and Floret is a wine-maker from the Perigord region. Together, the two are constantly thinking about preserving the old-ways of winemaking, while questioning old practices that no longer make sense. Les Equilibristes have a simple set of rules they follow in winemaking: use indigenous grape varieties, organic winemaking practices, indigenous yeasts, and minimal sulphur. They make wines from purchased grapes, always organic, from different regions of France, the goal of each wine to convey the unique terrior and local varietals of its place. We had the pleasure of meeting François at Raw LA and then again in my backyard in SF, and both times we were charmed by his unique and whimsical wines.
They source the Picpoul for this wine from the Languedoc's best appellation, with rich clay/calcareous soils and organic farming -- which is super rare here (they're one out of only three organic/natural projects in the region! And you can taste the mineral-rich soil and careful farming in this wine, which stands out from the legions of cheap Picpoul in the region. Vastly different than lean, linear one-note bistro wines, this baby has more fruit and body to balance Picpoul's famous acidity - Francois' goal is to make a “gastronomic Picpoul” that goes with all kinds of food, not just oysters! And he succeeded with this waxy, round, pretty white that drinks like Chenin with a pleasantly bitter finish and saline quality. It makes a fantastic food wine, for pairing from Spring soups to veggie-forward or poultry dishes to baguette and cheese if you're going all out Frenchie. Ooo la la.