Learn everything about Pineau des Charentes

Published the 09/14/2020 in Food & Wine

The AOC liqueur wine is an emblematic regional product of Charente and Charente Maritime. Made from the mixture of grape must and cognac, this wine is perfect for aperitifs and cocktails. You’d like to know a little more? We’ll tell you everything!

History

According to the legend Pineau des Charentes was created by accident. Wine production in Charentes dates back to Roman times. This is where the famous Cognac was born, and the birth of Pineau is strongly linked with the history of cognac. They say, one day a winemaker mistakenly poured a quantity of grape must into a barrel that already contained cognac. And a few years later when he opened this barrel, he discovered this sweet wine. At first the production of pineau was reserved for family use, but gradually it became more and more famous. In 1920 it began to be marketed and in 1935 it received the status of liqueur wine of Appellation Contrôlée. And in 1945, Pineau des Charentes became the first French liqueur wine of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC).

Zone de la production de cognac et de pineau

production

For more than four centuries, the know-how of pineau has remained unchanged, handed down from generation to generation. The production has four essential stages:

taste

There are 3 main types of Pineaux: white, rosé and red. It's interesting to know that until 2009 the appellation of "red pineau " did not really exist. It was in fact the synonym of pineau rosé due to its ruby ​​color.

Main grape varieties for White Pineau are ugni blanc, folle blanche, colombard, sémillon, sauvignon, montils, meslier Saint-François, jurançon blanc, merlot blanc, merlot noir, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc. It is both intense and elegant wine of great complexity. It has notes of lime blossom and vine flower that mingle with a whole aromatic palette of fresh fruits - peach, plum, fig - and dried fruits - almond, prune, quince - with a hint of vanilla and honey. With age the aromas of honey and prunes become more marked with addition of cinnamon and notes of nuts.

Our recommendation: Le Coq d´or, Reynac, Lhéraud Signature

To create Rosé and Red Pineaux they use Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot Noir. Pineau des Charentes rosé is particularly light and elegant, it is characterized by very fruity notes such as raspberry or cherry. The red Pineau des Charentes is intense and generous, its bouquet is an explosion of freshly picked black fruits such as blackcurrant, blackberry or sour cherry, aromas enhanced by notes of spices, licorice, cinnamon and vanilla. The old reds are characterized by woody notes, aromas of prunes and chocolate. Excellent aromatic persistence.

Our recommendation: Château de Beaulon Rouge, J. Painturaud

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 Pineau des Charentes is used a lot in cocktails and as an aperitif, it is always served very chilled and therefore often associated with the heat of summer. It can also be served as a starter with a piece of Charentais melon or with foie gras. Pineau des Charentes can also be consumed at the end of the meal to accompany strong cheeses, chocolate desserts and fruit pies. And besides, it is also used as an ingredient in many cooking recipes. 

Want to taste and discover the secrets of Pineau? Come and visit the land of Charantes with Millésime Privé!

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