It became an AOC (controlled origin) in 1945 and is produced by winemakers and cellarmasters in the two Charente départements and a few communes in Dordogne. It’s the marriage between grape juice and cognac eau-de-vie from the same vineyard. And nothing else … except skill.

Pineau des Charentes is a singular wine with a plural set of skills

Pineau des Charentes vineyards in the Charente-Maritime region of the Gironde estuary, view of the carrelets (small sand dunes)
Les vendanges à la main dans le vignoble charentais, grappes de raisin blanc versées dans un tombereau à vendange
Comité National du Pineau des Charentes

A unique production

During harvest, the grapes are carefully selected to obtain a perfect balance between sugar and acidity and are then pressed. The winemaker adds to the resulting liquid (“moûts”) eaux-de-vie de Cognac that was distilled the previous year in these proportions: ¼ cognac, ¾ moûts.

It’s called “mutage”.

There then follows a long period of aging in wooden barrels.

Pineau Blanc

Vines with bunches of white grapes used to make Pineau des Charentes

The star grape varieties for pineau blanc are ugni blanc, colombard, montils, sémillon, red and white merlot, folle blanche and sauvignon.

Pineau rouges et rosés

The main varieties are red merlot, cabernet franc et sauvignon, malbec.

Comité National du Pineau des Charentes
bunches of red grapes for making red or rosé pineau
Comité National du Pineau des Charentes

Long aging

Pineau blanc is aged for at least 18 months, of which 12 are in wooden barrels.
Pineau rosé is aged for at least 8 months, with 6 months in wooden barrels.
Pineau rouge is aged for at least 12 months, with 8 in wooden barrels. And very often more …
An old pineau (Vieux Pineau) will spend at least 7 years in an oak barrel with a very old spending 12 years.

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