Pineau des Charentes is a unique sweet fortified wine from a single estate, produced from grapes used to make both grape juice and Cognac.
Pineau is thus entirely from the same terroir.
After pressing, Cognac is blended with the new grape juice within hours of grapes pressing to produce Pineau des Charentes. Grapes must be very ripe in order to obtain grape juice that is rich in natural sugars. Pineau des Charentes is the result of stopping the fermentation of the grape juice by adding Cognac.The Pineau is then aged for at least a year.
The definitive alcohol content varies from 16 to 22 %.
Pineau des Charentes is exclusively aged in oak barrels.
White Pineau ages for at least 18 months, including 12 in barrel.
Red and rosé Pineau are aged for 12 months, including eight in oak.
This ageing is a very important part of the winemaking process, and gives Pineau des Charentes its characteristic vanilla and nutty flavour.
Pineau Vieux and Très Vieux are aged for five and ten years respectively.
A set of stringent rules govern how the wine is made: origin, grape varieties, pruning, vine density, yields, blending, ageing, analysis standards, taxation and transport, as well as labelling.
Only producers following these strict rules qualify for AOC status.
Regulations require Pineau des Charentes to be bottled in the region of production.
White or Red, Old or Very Old
There are many varieties of Pineau des Charentes for you to enjoy: white, rosé, red, vieux (old), and très vieux (very old).
Grape varieties: Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, Colombard, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Montils, Meslier Saint-François, Jurançon Blanc, Merlot Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc
Ageing: Minimum 18 months (12 months in barrel)
Alcoholic degree: 16-22% by volume
Vieux et Très Vieux White Pineau
Ageing: Vieux Pineau des Charentes blanc is oak aged for at least 5 years, while the Très Vieux ages for a minimum of 10 years.
Pineau Rouge or Rosé
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Merlot
Ageing: 14 months, including at least 8 months in oak barrels
Alcoholic degree: 16-22 % by volume
Vieux & Très Vieux Rouge & Rosé
Ageing: 5 years minimum in oak barrels for Vieux and 10 years for Très Vieux Pineau des Charentes
How to taste it ?
Whether enjoyed with a starter or dessert, Pineau des Charentes is best served cold (8-10°C), in a tulip-shaped glass, to appreciate the wine’s full range of flavours and aromas.
Young Pineau makes an ideal aperitif, whereas a Vieux or Très Vieux Pineau is a perfect way to round off your meal.
Pineau is also great in cocktails, blended with fruit juice, tonic water and a few mint leaves.
A Vieux or Très Vieux white Pineau goes exceptionally well with foie gras, blue cheese, and goat's cheese. Chocolate dishes are especially enhanced by a Vieux or Très Vieux rosé. Rosé or red Pineau is a treat with strawberries. Melon is also a much appreciated match with young white Pineau.
Versatile Pineau de Charentes goes beautifully with a great many delicious recipes.
How to store it ?
Storing Pineau Pineau des Charentes is not a wine that benefits from ageing. However leaving it for some time in your cellar will do no harm, provided you store the bottle upright.Pineau keeps well in the fridge (corked and upright) once opened, although it is better to let the wine warm up a few degrees before serving