Hailing from the tiny appellation of Picpoul-de-Pinet in southern France—and made from Picpoul, the local white grape—the bottle takes underwater aging to a new extreme. Rather than submerge the wine after it’s already been bottled, Benau does so while it’s still in barrel—four barrels, to be precise, which enjoy a six-month soak eight-meters deep in an oyster bed located in the basin of the Étang de Thau. Part of this involves the specific way the lees—the dead yeast cells that remain as a byproduct of fermentation—interact within the barrels, which are left free to rock with the currents. In this way, the water’s natural movement constantly stirs the lees: think of it as a perpetual “battonage.” Since no exchange between wine and seawater takes place—Benau secures metal brackets to the barrel’s plug to prevent it from bursting, and the outward pressure of the gas released during fermentation functions as a natural buffer—I can only assume that this accounts for the Libéro’s unusual savoriness and textural depth, which would surprise anyone familiar with Picpoul’s more classic style.
Pale yellow color with slight green tints, presence of tears. A characteristic bouquet of a ripe Piquepoul with hints of citrus, lemony, candied fruit and slightly buttered notes. The palate is fresh and fruity, slightly savory and has great textural depth. Structured and full-bodied with notes of spice on a beautiful lengthy finish.