A favorite memory while traveling along the Spanish-French coastline near Colliore was drinking gobs of the “lip stinger” while eating grilled fresh sardines from the street vendors. The refreshment value and high acid were the perfect accompaniment with the sardines typically served on old newspaper with grilled onions and peppers with a generous portion of goopy homemade aioli.
Olivier and Floriane Azan bought Petit Roubié in 1981 and converted to organic farming in 1995. Today, surprisingly enough, Petit Roubié is still the only certified organic domain in the Picpoul de Pinet appellation. The Azans farm a total of 59.50 hectares, or 147 acres, of vines, all of which is harvested at night to preserve acidity in the grapes.
The village of Pinet lies within a mile of the Via Domitia—the original Roman thoroughfare connecting Spain to the Rhône Valley and subsequently Italy—and was probably a villa during the Roman Occupation. The village lies between the modern day autoroute and the Bassin de Thau, a lagoon of the Mediterranean that is famous nowadays for its mussel and oyster farms, and which is commanded by the holiday and fishing town of Sète. In 1946 Picpoul de Pinet was classed as a VDQS, and got its AOC status in 1985. It’s one of the few French AOCs to promote a varietally named wine. As for the name, ‘small roubié’ is the name of the land the domain occupies. Les vieux du village (the village elders) think Roubié may have been the name of an ancient proprietor.
From organically farmed vineyards in a combination of clay and chalky coastal soils, then systematically destemmed and gently pressed, the juice is fermented bone dry in temperature controlled stainless steel tank and undergoes cold stablization (clarification). Once complete the wine sees and early bottling which assures freshness which is what this wine is all about….
Initially round and full the taste quickly adjusts to lively acidity and some saline minerality. The nicely balanced acid-alcohol content brings out the stone fruit and citrus aromas. The long and full after-taste works with oily or fatty fish, or oysters on the half shell, and steamed mussels.