The Varietal That Gave Perissos A Crisp Estate White

Perissos Vineyard and Winery stays true to the concept of using fruit grown in its home state — a mantra followed by many Central Texas wineries.

But when Perissos — located in Burnet, Texas — wanted to make a crisp white, co-owner Seth Martin said it chose to steer clear of Sauvignon Blanc, choosing to instead prioritize other varietals he said were more tolerant of the unrelenting Texas heat.

Varietals such as Viognier, Aglianico and Roussanne have been bottled for years at Perissos, which was the March/April cover story in Vintner Magazine, and Picpoul Blanc is the most recent addition to the winery’s lineup of white wines.

“It’s a new varietal for Perissos that we bottled three years ago,” Martin said. “It’s a French white wine varietal, and the No. 1 thing we look for in grapes is if they keep their acidity in spite of the heat. Most don’t, so we have to do our acidification at the winery. But Picpoul Blanc and Aglianico can grow in the field and you don’t have to do a lot to it.”

The inspiration behind the Picpoul experiment was a desire to make something with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grapefruit vibe to diversify Perissos’ portfolio, which Martin described as “red heavy.”

“Picpoul has a green apple, crisp (flavor) and it did a really good job,” Martin said. “We have a lot of fruit-forward wines in the vineyard with the Viognier and the Rousanne, but we are heavy on red wines in our repertoire, and we needed some whites to offer up. [We] have made Picpoul that was grown by others and it was very successful. 

“We do work with specific Texas growers, but nothing but Texas fruit comes through our doors. When you go to Napa you don’t want Australian wines or New York wines, you want the fruit that’s grown there.”

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