Today we are sharing about a special sparkling Picpoul wine from Halter Ranch, which we paired with our Fettuccine Primavera recipe. This is our contribution for the Wine Pairing Weekend event focused on American Sparklers, hosted by Culinary Cam. Disclosure: The featured wine was sent as a complimentary sample from the winery.
When I got an email about the Libelle sparkling wine from Halter Ranch, I knew I had to try it!
I hadn’t heard of a sparkling Picpoul before, and I’m always interested in trying new things. Plus, I had recently sampled some other great wines for this article on Pairings with Halter Ranch Wines. I was ready to try another one.
What is Picpoul?
Picpoul Blanc, also known as Picpoul, is a white wine grape variety with roots in the Languedoc region of southern France.
Most of my experience with the grape is based on enjoying Picpoul de Pinet, an appellation (AOC) in the Languedoc. The grape produces wine with bright acidity, captured by the name, which translates loosely to “lip stinger”.
While Picpoul’s roots are in France, the grape also thrives in warm climates like Paso Robles, where the grape is able to retain its acidity in the heat. This Decanter article describes how Picpoul has been catching on in the U.S.
The typical still Picpoul wine finds its way into our wine rotation with some regularity. We have enjoyed Picpoul paired with pesto and a variety of seafood dishes. I find it to be a good, food friendly wine, and will often go for it when I might otherwise pair a Sauvignon Blanc.
So as a Picpoul fan, I was definitely eager to try it in bubbly form!
Picpoul sparkling wine
Sparkling Picpoul is rather uncommon, as best I can tell. The first hit when I google for “sparkling Picpoul wine” is a bottle from Bending Brand Winery in Texas. Gives you a sense this is not a typical wine!
The page one results offer a smattering of other sparkling Picpouls, from some California and Languedoc producers. One of those is our featured wine!
Libelle sparkling Picpoul
So we had a chance to sample the 2020 Libelle Sparkling Picpoul Blanc ($85, 11 % ABV) from Halter Ranch. The Paso Robles winery produces just 216 cases of the Libelle.
“We look forward to crafting and releasing Libelle, since it gets such a positive response,” said Kevin Sass, the Winemaker at Halter Ranch. “Creating this wine is a passion project of mine, and it’s a way to challenge expectations of what Paso Robles and Halter Ranch can produce.”
Libelle is made in the Méthode Champenoise. The bottles are aged on lees for 24 to 30 months.
The Libelle is a light straw color in the glass. I get apple blossoms on the nose.
On the palate, pear fruit with lavender notes. Tight, elegant bubbles. The Libelle has a bright, clean finish.
To my palate, the Libelle compares favorably with many Champagnes I’ve tasted. It is of course different based on the Picpoul used versus Champagne grapes. For me, the Libelle’s bright, lively flavors along with the elegance you’d expect in a Champagne make it a winner.
If I am going to splurge on bottle of wine, I typically lean toward some of my favorite still red and white wines, and stick to moderately priced bubbly. But I would definitely be excited about getting another bottle of the Libelle for the holidays, to enjoy or gift to a fellow wine lover.
Sparkling wine is certainly versatile when it comes to pairings. We’ve tried all kinds of sparkling wine pairings over the years. I was getting close to the deadline for the Wine Pairing Weekend article, so I decided to pair the Libelle sparkling Picpoul with one of our go to dishes, Fettuccine Primavera.
The creamy fettuccine, tossed with steamed broccoli and carrots, has long been a family favorite. In fact, it was the first meal I cooked for Jodi on an early date. So the sentimental value plus the satisfying aspects of the creamy pasta dish make it a meal we keep coming back to.
I have typically paired our fettuccine with either a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, depending on mood and what is on hand. I didn’t see any reference to pairing it with a sparkling wine in the wine pairing section of the fettuccine article, but sparkling wine and creamy pasta seemed like it had potential.
Sure enough, the lively bubbles and bright flavors cleansed the palate after bites of creamy pasta. I would definitely say the sparkling Picpoul and fettuccine primavera works as a pairing.
If I had another bottle of Libelle to experiment with more pairings, I would definitely be inclined to try it with some seafood. Perhaps this scallops with pesto recipe, or maybe some sushi. What would you suggest? Let me know in the comments!
About Halter Ranch
I covered more about Halter Ranch in this article on pairings with Halter Ranch wines. But will make a few quick notes here.
Halter Ranch is located along the western-most boundaries of Paso Robles, and is surrounded by the Santa Lucia Mountain Range of the Central California Coast. The property is a 2,700-acre nature estate dedicated to land, art, and California terroir. Envisioned by Swiss entrepreneur, philanthropist, and conservationist Hansjörg Wyss, the estate is an homage to his mother, Alice Halter.
More American sparklers
Check out the other American sparkling wine and related pairings that our fellow Wine Pairing Weekend writers have put together!
A Russian River Valley Pét-Nat with Veggie Tempura from Culinary Cam
All American Sparklers from Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula by Grape Experiences
Cheers, It is Christmastime in Michigan by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Christmas Cookie Swap and a Cooper’s Hawk Blanc de Blanc by Our Good Life
The Bubbles of Bel Lago by The Quirky Cork
Troon wine: Farm-fresh flavor in every glass by My Full Wine Glass
4 US Sparkling Surprises: Sonoma’s SEPPI, Paso’s Halter Ranch, WA Gorge + Fav Festive Finger Foods by Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley