Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus came to Gaul (France) in 118 BC to build a road to link Rome in Italy, through the South of France to Cadiz in Spain, running from one end of the Languedoc-Roussillon to the other across what are now the Pinet vineyards which encouraged the growth of wine-farming in the area.
In the 16th Century Picpoul (orginally Piquant-Paul) was recognised as a white grape producing premium quality wines and it now has the appellation Picpoul de Pinet. It has a remarkable freshness and citrus-vivacity (it gets its name from its Occitan origins translating to 'lip stinger') which is unusual for a grape grown in the warm, sunny Mediterranean area near Sète, along the Etang de Thau. Grown on a panoramic limestone plateau facing the sea, the cooling Mediterranean sea breezes protect the grapes from the heat of the day and provide much needed moisture.
The wine has a brilliant yellow colour with green tints and a nose that is fine, fresh, fruity and floral. On the palette it is lively, fresh with lemony and floral touches and for this reason it is an excellent accompaniment to seafood and grilled fish.
Carte Noir from the Cave de l'Ormarine is probably one of the better know Picpoul wines. The Ormarine vineyards are on a unique site only a few yards from the Mediterranean and backed by the garrigue, and cover roughly 1815 heactares (4484 acres), with some 470 hectares (1161 acres) planted with its unique white AOC Piquepoul grape variety.