The AOC Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet vineyards cover some 1400 hectares (3000 acres) around the Thau lagoon to the west of the Mediterranean Golfe de Lyon.
It forms a triangle bounded by Agde, Pézenas and Sète and is the largest white wine producer in the Languedoc.
The ancient Roman "Via Domitienne" runs right through the area, dividing it into two distinctive terroirs :
To the north: Lades of garrigue, pines and vines alternate with rocky outcrops, the land dating from the Cretaceous period (+/- 100m years) and Miocene (+/-15m years) epoch.
Here the climate is hotter and more humid than on the coastal strip, with abundant Mediterranean type vegetation.
In the south: Flatter land (consisting of weathered, sandy stones crisscrossed with deep furrows and low hills) sweeps straight to the sea. Vines are the only plants here in a climate tempered by sea breezes and mist. The soil was washed down during the Pliocene (+/- 2m years) epoch.
The weather pattern is typically Mediterranean with low rainfall (600mm or 24 ins) and moderate winters. Summers are dry.
The maritime influence is influential in that it limits strong temperature variations :
- Sea breezes limit high daytime temperatures,
- The water in the lagoon protects the land from steep night-time temperature falls.
The white Piquepoul grape inclines to ripen late, so the warm, humid sea breezes help it mature in good conditions.
- Production centres : Pinet, Pomérols, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac, Mèze, Florensac.
- Area : 1400 ha
- Annual production : 70 000 hl
- Maximum yield : 60 hl/ha
- Grape : White Piquepoul, hard pruned
- Soil : Limestone, sandy soil deposits