I’m going to guess that like me you’ve never heard of Pineau which is pronounced like ‘pinot’ (as in pinot grigio) which you’ve definitely heard of, haven’t you?! Now you can read it, I’m here to introduce you to a whole new world I’ve recently discovered.
Let’s start with what the hell is it?
Well, it’s French so naturally, there’s a very long, winding and romantic story about the guy that first discovered it back in the 1600’s. Essentially, he chucked a grape in Cognac and… voila!
Of course it’s not quite that simple. In fact, Forbes called Pineau a ‘beverage chameleon‘ because it can fit on to the drinking spectrum just about anywhere. That includes a dessert wine, an aperitif and even perfect in a cocktail.
Pineau or it’s Sunday name, Pineau des Charentes, is from the same region as Cognac and was definitely a happy little accident (™ Bob Ross) that was only properly established in France in 1945.
The grapes used are not fermented into wine nor are they distilled into brandy, instead they’re pressed into grape must. That’s just grape juice (seeds and all) with a fancy name.
It’s then fortified with ‘Cognac eau-de-vie’ which is essentially like teenage Cognac, in that it’s not quite old enough yet to be legally a Cognac.
It’s got a little less sting than usual spirits coming in somewhere between 16 and 22% ABV and given its drinking flexibility is definitely something you should be getting in your cupboards for 2020.
In recent years there’s been additions to the white grape version with many producers using red to make a rose or red style pineau.
So how should you drink it?
Well, if you’ve got a bottle in your cupboard, chances are you’ve got something that will pair perfectly.
Whether that’s a nice little tulip-shaped glass to really let those aromas come out. Or pairing a red Pineau with cheese, particularly a strong blue cheese or Goat’s cheese. Or finally, you can even pair a rosé Pineau with a big old chocolatey dessert.
By now, I’m sure you’re wondering where you can get your paws on a P&T. Well, the answer, like anything that’s cool, trendy or even worth talking about, is tucked away in Ancoats.
The lovely folk down at erst have added a Pineau and Tonic to their menu and it’s only £5.50 AND let me tell you – it’s delicious.
If the dryness of G&T is what puts you off, then you need to try the P&T. It’s a lot sweeter than a G&T, it’s incredibly refreshing, especially when served ice cold with a slice of lemon.
Just how sweet it is, completely cuts through the bitterness of tonic making it dangerously easy to drink.
Since my first sip, I’ve been craving it. So if you need me, I’ll be at erst sat at the bar with P&T in hand.
I strongly urge you to get on board the P&T party before it leaves the station and everyone’s talking about it. You know you wanna be one of those smarmy gits who can say ‘oh I’ve been drinking that for years‘.
So tell your mums, dads, uncles and dogs – together, we can give the P&T the spotlight it deserves.
Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester M4 5BN