I don’t know how much you may know about Pineau des Charentes but – dare I say it – you’re about to discover your new favorite aperitif!
Pineau is a spirited wine – i.e. a fortified wine that is made of grape juice blended with Cognac. There are white, red, and even rose varietals of various ages and, as you can imagine, they vary greatly in taste. All of the Pineau that I have tried has been smooth, aromatic, and insanely drinkable.
There is the ice cube versus no ice cube debate, of course, but, in either case, Pineau is best enjoyed properly chilled. According to the Pineau Academy, when served as an aperitif, Pineau should be served between 8-10C, with an ice cube if required, and aged Pineau des Charentes should be served at just slightly below room temperature.
But wait, Pineau is also wonderful in an autumnal cocktail or in my new favorite iteration, the P&T, Pineau and Tonic, as prepared by Ms Franky Marshall.
- 2oz White Pineau
- 1.5 oz good tonic water (i.e. Fever Tree)
- 1 grapefruit peel for garnish
- 1.5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Build over ice in a wine glass.
- Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a sprig of thyme. If you want to get fancy, you can release some of the aromatic oils from both over the cocktail before serving.
Pineau is a natural pairing with a cheese course or a dessert, but also with oysters (quintessential to the Charentes region) and foie gras.
I love Pineau’s elegance and its surprise element. Order it at a bar, and the bartender will give you a knowing nod. Serve it to friends, and they will be happily curious to find out more.
Check out my saved Highlights on Instagram for more on Pineau!