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Pic Wines – a different approach to Languedoc wines

In a recent article I wrote about the pros and cons of setting up a wine business in the UK. But the clever ladies (Helen and Julie) at Pic Wines have a novel approach which gives them the best of both worlds – they live in the Languedoc!

Being in the heart of one of the most exciting French wine regions provides them with plenty of opportunities to track down some of the best wines, often from small vineyards, They can really get to know the wines and the people who make them, and they are clearly enthusiastic about their wines.

The Languedoc used to be the bulk wine capital of France, producing endless amounts of cheap, rough wines under a Government system which effectively guaranteed the farmers an income, regardless of the quality of their grapes or the resulting wine. The EU has been instrumental in getting rid of surplus production by paying farmers to uproot their vines, so that largely the remaining vignerons are the real enthusiasts who produce some really cracking wines which can rival the best of the New World.

As for Pic Wines, the clever part is that you pre-order your wines from their list, which are then delivered from France direct to your door at a delivery charge which would put some UK merchants to shame! Seeing as how increasingly mail order or the internet is the best way of finding good, interesting, small production wines, then it makes little difference if your chosen merchant is in London, Suffolk, Wales or the Languedoc. What does matter is that the wines are of great quality – and that is where being close to the vineyards has to be a huge advantage – and they still offer ocassional tastings in the UK.

Amongst their wines is an excellent Picpoul de Pinet from Domaine Font-Mars – made from the Picpoul grape this is an enticing dry white which is excellent for seafood without being as acidic as, say, a Muscadet – a regular favourite to be drunk with the local oysters and mussels from the Etang du Thau and the renowned seafood town of Bouzigues (34 Herault, Languedoc).
For the reds, I can recommend the Vin de Pays d’Oc from La Sauvageonne – this is no humble country wine, but a classy rich, silky smooth wine which adds another dimension to what is otherwise a standard Merlot-dominated Bordeaux blend – a prime example of how much more important it is to know the producer, rather than the classification.
Amongst their other wines are Banyuls, Faugeres, Pic St Loup, St Chinian – in fact most of the Languedoc. They offer a variety of mixed cases, and you can put together your own case if you wish.
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