Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of Picpoul de Pinet. Bernard Grigri grew up near Aix-en-Provence, a couple hours from the Languedoc towns near the Thau Lagoon where this golden-green grape - the name translates to "lip stinger" - is made into citrusy, herbaceous whites.
And Grigri had never heard of it until he began vin-shopping for his new Bella Vista bistro, the Good King Tavern. Now, a prime example of this sprightly, increasingly trendy wine, La Chenille Picarèla from the village of Pomérols, is one of several great French values anchoring his bistro list.
Picpoul de Pinet, which I'd first tasted at Fork (and is also on the list at Le Chéri) is notable for its distinctive slender bottle, which is embossed with the Languedoc cross.
But I most love it for its refreshing balance - a decent weight on the tongue that carries an herbal whiff of Provencal garrigue and a Meyer lemon finish with faint effervescence. Best part? Most retail in the low teens when you find them (try Font Mars, PA code 48188), which translates into the low $30s on most Philly lists.
- Craig LaBan
La Chenille Picarela Picpoul de Pinet 2011, $33 a bottle ($10 a glass), the Good King Tavern, 614 S. Seventh St., 215-625-3700.