This week I spent three days in Rioja where it was cloudy, dull jumper-weather then came home to find London unexpectedly basking in hot September sunshine. I say unexpectedly but actually I’d had so many taunting texts and emails that it was far from it. If I’d been at home this week (I wasn’t, OK everyone, texting me from your parks and your picnic rugs), I’d have been pouring a lot of picpoul.
Picpoul has become the go-to grape for those wanting a glass of ‘something crisp.’ It’s less boring than pinot grigio and not nearly as attention-seeking as sauvignon blanc. It’s from the south of France and it has a twang of citrus and a bit of that quality that wine geeks call mineral and which basically means they like it. Picpoul started to spring up on restaurant wine lists a few years ago when sommeliers realised it was a clever little number because it was relatively unknown but also just the sort of thing for those who know they want a glass of white but don’t know quite what. Now it’s not quite such a well-kept secret. Half my friends (the female half, funnily enough) confided this summer that they’d “found a great wine” (picpoul, ever time) and you see it all over the place, including at Tesco who have a pretty good one that is currently on special down at £6 (see the wine of the day on the right) making it very good value indeed.