Pineau des Charentes
Words by Simon Difford
Available in both red and white styles, Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine from the Charentes (Cognac) region of France, with its own appellation contrôlée. Produced during the autumn harvest, Pineau des Charentes is made by blending partially fermented grape juice with a one-year-old cognac from the same producer and then maturing the blend in oak casks.
White Pineau is made from the Charente regions white grape varieties: Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche and matured for at least 12 months in French oak casks. Red Pineau is made from red grapes: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and matured for at least eight months in French oak barrels.
There are hundreds of small producers of Pineau, each with their own brand name. Many of the big Cognac houses also make the fortified wine.