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Stretching along the Thau lagoon to the west of the Mediterranean’s Golfe de Lyon lays Picpoul de Pinet. It is the largest white wine producing area in the Languedoc. The appellation forms a triangle between the town of Agde, Pézenas and Sète. It is located on a sun exposed limestone plateau covered with aromatic garrigue. Garrique is the coastal vegetation found along the Mediterranean coast, it is made of small aromatic bushes that are drought resistant.
The Thau lagoon is famous for its oysters and Picpoul de Pinet is the ideal wine to pair with. Picpoul produces a fresh and relatively acidic wine; the acid neutralizes the salt and iodine in shellfish and other crustaceans, in the same way it is also excellent with rich cheeses and charcuterie.
La Chenille Picarela is a grower co-op in honnor of the village of Picpoul's totem; a caterpillar called Lo Porquet, the ‘seductress caterpillar’. The story goes that after multiple invasions from a hungry and destructive Lo Porquet caterpillar in the Pinet vineyards, the villagers only found one solution to neutralize the enemy and that was to ‘totemize’ it. The totem serves to celebrate the caterpillar; the animal is dressed up and follows a processional dance, called ‘Attila’s Step’, accompanied with a lot of singing and dancing throughout the village. The happy caterpillar wriggles left and right, performing full belly rolls called ‘la bidoussado’, the animal is gradually overwhelmed by the dancing ‘bufetaïres’ and retreats. Since Lo Porquet is celebrated and has become a totem, the ravenous caterpillar was never seen in the vineyards again. Lo Porquet celebration takes place every year in July during the Ormarine festivities.
Picpoul de pinet may come from six villages, namely; Pinet, PomÃ©rols, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac, MÃ¨ze, Florensac.
It grows well in dry climates but tends to rot when humid; the sea breeze from the Mediterranean, which blows throughout summer and autumn, helps prevent rot. Summers are very dry and the fruits grow in draught like conditions.