Christmas party special: Picpoul de Pinet Hugues Bielieu '07

Country: France
Thoughts: I've long since gotten over the embarrassment of taking a photo of a bottle. Sometimes it's not an ideal situation - others may look at me strangely, but that's fine by me - but I do a wine blog and damn if I ain't gonna take it seriously. Fortunately, everyone's been kind enough to play along so far, from bartenders to waiters to my wife's colleagues, who took turns working 30-minute shifts at the bar so all could be hydrated during the annual Christmas party. Really, it was a no-lose deal; serve up drinks and enjoy the view (the floor that hosted the party had a wall of windows to an eye-level view of the Capitol dome). So with that in mind, we took the opportunity to add a freebie to the list; most any free wine should be an automatic A, but we have standards around here. And this was a toughie, right from the start; there were three phrases on the label that all plausibly could've been the name of the wine. Coteaux de Languedoc? (Nope, that's the appellation.) Hugues Bielieu, a little further under the first phrase? (Nope, a Google search shows that's the second half of the name.) Picpoul de Pinet? (Ding ding ding.) So apparently the name has something to do with the grape; I figured, like most French wines, it was simply a blend that had been in use for centuries, but I can't seem to find anything that indicates it's more than one grape. According to K&L, picpoul means "lip stinger," and that would be apt here. There was a certain bite to it, almost like when you take a gulp of Coke and push your tongue to the roof of your mouth, except not quite as severe. It almost seemed bubbly, yet the wine was still. It was dry and slightly puckering, though not in an overpowering way. I thought the wine would get better the more I tried it, and indeed my taste buds became accustomed. It was a decent enough wine, particularly after getting past the first few sips. My biggest gripe, however, was the distinct lack of any bouquet whatsoever.
Do-over? It gets some hits on CheapWineRatings.com, so who can argue with that?
Final Grade: B

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