Ratafia de Champagne spirit awarded appellation status

Ratafia de Champagne spirit awarded appellation statusRatafia de Champagne, a grape based spirit produced in the Champagne province, has received official status as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Ratafia de Champagne is produced in the Champagne regionIt is the first time the French board of appellations, the INAO, has awarded this to Ratafia de Champagne.
Made from the same grapes as Champagne, Ratafia de Champagne reaches around 18% abv, and is produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes harvested in whole bunches to protect their freshness.
An association of producers, distillers, the Champagne winegrowers union and the Maisons de Champagne union known as Bosons Spiritueuses Champenoises was set up in June 2014 to govern production.
‘There are today around 120 producers of Ratafia de Champagne and its existence dates back eight centuries,’ Claude Guiraud of Maison Guiraud and president of Boissons Spiritueuses Champenoises told decanter.com.
‘But the potential for progression is huge, and we expect to reach 15 million bottles annually. It gives a new way to talk about the terroir of Champagne, and the distinct taste reflects the minerality, elegance and balance of the province. This is the only place in Europe to produce Ratafia’.
The grapes from the free run juice and the first presses go to Champagne production while the juice from either the third or fourth press is used to make Ratafia de Champagne.
The first bottles below the PGI Ratafia de Champagne are expected to reach the market during 2016, although it will be non-vintage, as the majority of Champagne is.
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Picpoul de Pinet

Picpoul de Pinet for Wine Blogging Wednesday 46Simply place, Picpoul is my favorite colorless varietal; specifically, Picpoul de Pinet from Coteaux du Languedoc in France.  Since learning it I nearly don’t want to try any additional colorless wine for I have found the one that I like.  This is an absolutely delightful varietal.  It’s set alight, dry, minerally, acidic… it’s everything I want from a colorless wine.
Picpoul is a varietal that originated in southern France and is often used as a component in blends versus bottled as a single varietal.  It is known for its high acidity which makes it an brilliant wine to pair with shellfish — oysters are a well loved choice with Picpoul.  It is also an brilliant choice with rich, soft cheeses.
The Picpoul de Pinet terroir is the largest colorless wine producing province in Coteaux du Languedoc.  Rather than spending my time rehashing the details, I’ll direct you to the Picpoul de Pinet site to read all about the terroir.  They’ve done a fantastic job.
In addition to being consistently a fantastic colorless wine, another consistency I’ve noticed is that the producers all seem to use the same bottle design.  See the designs on the neck of the bottles pictured below.  So you can quickly identify this varietal on the shelf when you see the bottle.
It is sick how much I delight in this wine.  It is the most crisp and refreshing colorless varietal I have ever tasted.  I tried Picpoul de Pinet from two different producers for this Wine Blogging Wednesday and they were both brilliant.
Le Jade Picpoul de PinetAt times Picpoul can be a bit too acidic, but this one is just right.  And it has surprising complexity for a $9 bottle of wine.
The nose is a full bouquet of tropical delights.  There’s a bit of grapefruit, some pineapple, and lime.  Yes, those are all acidic fruits, but trust me… it’s not too acidic.  The palate on this has a gentle pineapple and lime flavor with really nice mineral undertones.  The end is rather long and is very minerally.
I loved this with some garlic butter drenched escargot and some pan bigio bread with soft ripened fromage triple-crème.  It was delightful, but I found myself wishing I had picked up the lobster I was eyeing in the market.
Wine: Le Jade
Varietal: Picpoul de Pinet
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 12.5%
Rating: 89
Fee Paid: $8.99
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