This gentle, delectable, aromatic, off-dry French aperitif deserves more attention than it receives in North America than in France, particularly in Charente and Charente Maritime, its popularity cannot be disputed.
Pineau de Charente is a mistelle, consisting of freshly processed grape juice blended with brandy and known in France as vin de liqueur.
It was accidentally invented in 1589 by a winemaker pouting brandy in a barrel combining freshly pressed grape juice. Today, the proportion of juice to spirit is 3 to 1.
Ugni blanc, folle blanche, and colombard are the preferred grape varieties, but occasionally sauvignon blanc and montil are also employed.
The blend must be aged for 18 months, eight of which must occur in a barrel. The alcoholic strength may vary between 16- 22, but generally winemakers like to aim at 17 per cent ABV.
Fine pineau de Charente is aged for five years, and occasionally for decades. Those aged long periods become more refined and light.
It is best to serve pineau de Charente chilled at (8 – 10 C) in a sherry copita-shaped glass as an aperitif or with hors d’eouvre such as pissaladiere, baked truffle Brie en croute, blue cheese stuffed mushroom, shiitake-pumpkin ravioli, white cheddar with apples, goat cheese, grape and pistachio truffle, Alsatian bacon and onion pizza, vegetable pizza with potato crust, or white pizza.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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