Three Rising Stars

You may or may not have heard of these three more obscure French varietals. Yet, they are the rising stars of the wine world and they’re becoming increasingly more produced and readily available in the US.

Picpoul

Literally meaning “lip-stinger” in French, this grape is a native of the Languedoc Roussillon region. The varietal produces wines with high acidity and full bodied character. It is one of the thirteen varieties permitted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape cuvees.

Roussanne

This demanding vine grows along the Rhone. It is usually fermented together with Marsanne and aged in oak, this white wine is rich and smooth, not overly fruity, with notes of dried flowers and herbal tea. Can be aged.

Tannat

French word for “tannin,” you can imagine that this grape certainly lives up to its name. Though it’s used solely as a blending grape in France, Tannat is becoming a more comomonly produced varietal in around the world, including Uruguay and California.

Some wines to keep on the lookout for:

Kinero Cellars “Cabrida Blanco” 2009 – blend of 34% Picpoul, 33% Grenache Blanc, 33% Chardonnay

Hughes Beaulieu “Picpoul de Pinet” 2007

Tablas Creek Vineyard “Tannat” – 100% Tannat

Qupe Winery “Roussane” 2007

Cline “Roussane Marsanne” 2009