Pineau

The origin of this drink was when a wine producer accidentally poured grape juice into a barrel containing brandy. The barrel was hidden, untill the next year it was required for the harvest. It was discovered the accidental mixture had become an extremely good drink.

Heres how to make it along with some variations.

Firstly, for true Pineau or ‘Vrai Pineau’ by the traditional method:

To make 20 litres you will need:
Ideally, a 20 litre or slightly larger wooden barrel, chestnut for the real deal
or other suitable 20 litre container with lid ie: 20 litre glass bon bon
15 litres of unfermented grape juice – mousse de rasin
5 litres of Eau de Vie at 60% abv

Next, just mix the grape juice with Eau de Vie at a ratio of 3:1
To make 20 litres, you’ll need 15 litres of grape juice with 5 litres of Eau de Vie.
If your barrel is new or has dried out, then it must first be prepared for filling. To do this, fill with water and soak for several days whilst checking for leaks. Once satisfied all is well, drain the water and fill with your Pineau mix so the barrel does not dry out
So fill your barrel with the mix
Allow to mature for about 6 months or a year – it’s around 15% ABV depends on the strength of the Eau de Vie.
You can add a little more Eau de Vie if you wish but I find 3:1 @ 60% to get to around 15% about right, none of this is an exact science, so experiment!
Bottle it then leave a further few months to allow sediment to settle, you may like to re-bottle once the sediment has settled for a clearer finish.
Thats it!

Notes: 1. It is important to prevent fermentation so check that no bubbles appear and add a dash of Eau de vie if they do. 2. If you dont have a wooden barrel, you could always try cutting some Chestnut wood and adding to your container.

Pressing grapes for Pineau with a 25 litre Italian mini press

Next: Fruit soaked in Eau de Vie and wine, locally known as vin cuit – although cooked wine it isn’t:

Ingredients:

1 litre of eau de vie
5 litres of wine (red or white depending on colour of fruit)
1 Kg of fruit – more if you wish to have more fruity taste, I use about 1.25Kg
Between 250 – 500g of sugar

You’ll need a large container, ideally a 10 litre bonbon with a stopper. I’ve found it beneficial to freeze then de-frost the fruit for an improved taste. This works very well with mirabelle pineau with the resultant drink having a similar taste to the wine from Sauternes.

Method:

First remove any stones from the fruit, this is essential as they will impart a bitter taste if not. Check you have sufficient fruit: 1.0 or 1.2 kg and place in your bon bon or container.
Pour 1 litre of Eau de Vie into the bonbon and mix with the fruit which must be completely submerged in the Eau de Vie.

Leave this for a week agitating every couple of days – I do this as I think it helps prevent any unwanted fermentation.

Next add the wine and a small amount of sugar say 250g and mix it up.
Agitate every other day for about 30 days – you can do this every day if desired
Taste and add sugar if needed – note you can add sugar but you can’t take it out, so best to add a little then check after a couple of days. You can leave it more than 30 days if the taste has not fully developed – my longest waited 3 months.

Bottle and wait for any sediment to settle. It’s around 17% ABV but depends on the strength of the Eau de Vie and the wine used.

Thats it!

Vin de Noix

Ingredients:

1 litre of eau de vie
5 litres of red wine
40 green walnuts picked before the shell starts to form – this is usually about a week before Bastille day and can be tested with a needle. Its vital to get this right! About 250 – 500g sugar, depending on final taste.

You also need a large container, ideally 10 litre bonbon with a stopper.

Method:

Pour the 1 litre of Eau de Vie into the bonbon.
Cut the nuts into quarters as you quarter them place in the bon bon with the Eau de Vie – they must be submerged in the Eau de Vie, they will go brown.

Leave this for a week and agitate every couple of days – I do this as I think it helps prevent any unwanted fermentation.

Now add in the 5 litres of red wine and about 250g of sugar and mix this all up
Agitate every other day for a total of 40 days
After about 30 days taste and add sugar if needed – note you can add sugar but you can’t take it out, so best to add a little then check after a couple of days.

Bottle and wait for any sediment to settle. It’s around 17-18% ABV but depends on the strength of the Eau de Vie and the wine used.

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