Piquette: It's Time You Knew. - Vintage Berkeley

Piquette: It's Time
You Knew.

You Berkeley-ites: you're constantly talking about "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Telling every last neighbor about those Urban Ore scores of yours. Arguing on NextDoor about which bin the pizza box goes in. And yet when it comes to vinous beverages? How many of you have tried Piquette?

It's time! Not only is it the epitome of Reduce/Reuse/Recycle — it's also the drink of choice for those of us looking for a low-alcohol, summer "session" beverage. (Beer drinkers can't have all the fun of remaining vertical while drinking!) A low-alcohol wine made from the second pressings of grape pomace, this fizzy (and sustainable!) bevvy has been around since ancient Greek and Roman times.

What started as the preferred lunchtime drink of vineyard workers (low ABV meant you could get your mid-day refreshment on... and actually be able to work when you returned to the vines!) has now caught on, millennia later, as a low-ABV vinous answer to beer drinkers' session ales: a thing you can drink and drink without getting, well, saucy.

While some publications will attempt to convince you that piquette is  the new black, we're not into it because it's trending, nor because it will ever remotely replace wine in our darkly vinous hearts. No: it's a whole other thing, and it has its perfect place: we love it because it's juicy, refreshing, spritzy and simple... and its low alcohol makes it just the sort of approachable delight an easy summer day calls for.

And as August winds its way toward our Indian summer? We have two new faves for you to try! One from two of our favorite local natural wine warlocks (Deux Punx), and one from a natural winemaking hero of ours in Burgundy's Beaujolais region (Romain des Grottes).

Un, deux punx
Dan Schaaf and Aaron Olson, the two wine-addicted ex-punks that make up (you got it) Deux Punx started making wine out of a garage in Glen Park back in the 2000's (later graduating to actual winemaking facilities - hey, even punks grow up!). Hailing from the thrills of skate/punk culture as they do, though, they're outsiders who’ve always prided themselves on their “DIY” approach… and damn if this approach isn’t working for us! 

Their first Piquette ($17.50, 7.7% ABV) is made from a quintet of grapes - AssyrtikoPicpoulCarignanMalvasia, and Zinfandel - a slamming, no-sulfur-added sparkler loaded with tropical notes and a bright refreshing finish. Neon pink in the bottle, singing with grapefruit and packed with acidity, it's pure delight. 

Deux Punx label on left, made by same artist who did NOPA's murals

And while Beaujolais' natural winemaker extraordinaire, Romain des Grottes, may listen to less Dead Kennedys than our home-grown homies? He's something of an experimental punk himself! While we adore his sexy, refined Gamays, it's his "P(ik)etnat" Piquette ($21, 5% ABV) that we want to drink on a lazy August afternoon. 

It's as simple as it is refreshing: Romain takes organic Gamay pomace, adds water + the barest soupçon of lemon juice (and no sulfur), and lets it ferment. Then, right before the ferment finishes(just like Deux Punx), he caps it... creating a natural effervescence. Voilà! Crisp and natural with just a hint of Gamay's bright red fruit (and a saison-like yeastiness), this is unlike any drink you've had from the region, and we're all about it! (Us, we like it in the park — but Romain swears it's also the perfect thing to refresh with in the middle of a meal, when you want to reset your palate between courses and wines!)


Stay Vertical: Get Piquette!

Deux Punx Piquette
Our price: $17.50. Buy here!

Romain des Grottes 
'P(ik)etnat' Piquette

Our price: $21. Buy here!

(Supplies limited on both.)