Looking for a new style of beverage to sip? If you're a fan of spritzes and other fizzy, low-alcohol drinks, there's a new wine trend that's just for you: Piquettes. But exactly what is piquette wine? And why are so many natural wine shops always selling out of these bottles and cans? Wine experts describe it as a super sustainably made spirit and say you'll love it if you're looking for something that's as fun to drink as it is earth-friendly.
According to Coly Den Haan, sommelier and owner of LA wine shop Vinovore, what makes the wine so environmentally friendly is how it's produced. "Piquette is kind of the ultimate in green or sustainable winemaking," she explains. "After the grapes are crushed for a traditional wine and the juice has been extracted, there is a cakey pomace left over. At this point, water is added to the squeezed-grape skin leftovers to create a lower-in-alcohol, often-slightly spritzy, and easy drinking wine-ish beverage."
While the term itself is controversial among wine professionals, piquette could be considered a "clean" option — in this case meaning it's created with minimal intervention. Many of the winemakers who are producing piquettes adopt organic, biodynamic, and even vegan practices in their process, and the wines are defined by their lack of additives. As an added bonus, piquettes are often available at an accessible price point, with many bottles between the $15 to $25 mark.
While the slightly effervescent, occasionally funky drink is certainly trending at the moment, it's not for everyone. Want to know a little bit more about this quirky, sustainable beverage before you buy a bottle? Read ahead for why it may — or may not — be your new go-to, according to Den Haan and Monica Navarro, owner of Joshua Tree's cult favorite wine shop Wine & Rock Shop and the newly opened Wine & Eggs Shop in Los Angeles, then browse from a few of their faves.
What Is Piquette Wine: Less Waste
Going green? Since piquette is essentially made from "scraps" of the winemaking process, supporting them helps to save waste. "Natural wine is also all about giving back to the earth as opposed to taking away and piquettes are a great way to utilize something that would otherwise be all waste," Den Haan says.
Navarro adds that she's noticed customers becoming more and more aware of how they can practice sustainability, and her shops' popularity of piquettes is an extension of that. "I think as a society we are all looking at the way we are operating and are trying to find sustainable practices to incorporate into our lives," she explains. "Hopefully, this movement will continue to be seen in all our aspects of life and winemaking is no different."
What Is Piquette Wine: Lower Alcohol & Sugar
Because of the way it's produced, piquettes are naturally lower in sugar as well as alcohol content. "We're seeing people gravitating toward this low ABV quaffable alternative and I think there are a few reasons people may be giving them a try," Navarro says. "You can finish the whole bottle and not feel like you've finished a whole bottle."
What Is Piquette Wine: Easy Drinking
A so-called "cleaner" wine option is great and all, but you should also be drinking things you actually enjoy. So what should you expect to taste when sipping piquettes? Well, that depends. Since this is a style of wine, rather than a particular varietal, there are many different options (including red, whites, rosé, and the ever-so-trendy orange — otherwise known as skin contact wine). "I’ve tasted many different expressions of piquette, some off-putting, some that don’t taste like anything at all," explains Den Haan. "When done right they are dry, refreshing, and dangerously chuggable without the danger."
According to Navarro, they also range in bubbliness. "There are still and sparkling versions, I tend to like the sparkling ones a little more as a nice afternoon type spritz," she says. "Anyone who likes those lighter glou-glou wines, ciders, or even beer might want to give a piquette a try." As for some popular pairings, the Wine & Rock Shop owner suggests drinking a chilled glass with a cheese plate or potato chips, and Old Westminster, a popular piquette producer, loves to serve theirs with a slice of pizza.
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