JoieFarm releases its 2008 Reserve wines
JoieFarm, Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble’s winery on Naramata Road, released just over 800 cases when it opened in 2005.
The winery gained a cult following almost overnight. Today, it produces about 10,000 cases a year. Its two reserve wines now constitute more than the entire winery volume in the original year.
By any measure, this winery was one of the most successful launches of any British Columbia winery in the last decade. That was achieved with novelty -- aromatic Germanic whites at a time when most other new entrants got into the market with big reds and big whites – and quality.
A few years ago, JoieFarm launched its reserve program, covering off the demand for a big red and a big white. The winery is just releasing its two reserve wines from 2008.
The big white is the 2008 Reserve Chardonnay ($29.90 with a production of 502 cases). The entire range of winemaking art was employed here: whole cluster and whole berry pressing with primary and malolactic fermentation in French barriques and puncheons. A quarter of the barrels were new, 50% were a year old and the remainder were neutral.
This wine begins with an appealing gold hue. It has the aroma of ripe apricots, tangerines and honey (there was some botrytis among the grapes). JoieFarm’s own notes speak of ripe Anjou pear, hazelnut skins and freshcut pineapple. That should tell you something about how complex the wine is. On the palate, there are rich but tangy flavours of citrus, pineapple and honey. There is so much going on that it is like drinking marmalade. This wine has plenty of heft, with the structure to age like a good Burgundy. 90.
The big red is the 2008 PTG ($29.90 with a production of 780 cases). PTG stands for Passetoutgrain, which is what Burgundians call wines made from blends of Pinot Noir and Gamay. This wine is 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay, with fruit from four vineyards on the Naramata Bench one in Vernon.
Once again, all the stops were pulled out in making this wine, starting with the use of a sorting table to select the best berries. Some of the fruit was fermented in small tanks; some was fermented in a French oak cask and was actually trod by foot. You would be surprised how many Okanagan winemakers use bare feet to press Pinot Noir. The foot is much gentler than mechanical methods and gentle is good with Pinot Noir and Gamay.
The wine is dark ruby with aromas of spicy cherries. On the palate, there are flavours of cherries and spice and cola. This is another wine with heft – a rich texture and a long finish. 90.
These are interesting wines, made for food – after all, Michael and Heidi came to wine from careers in the restaurant business and Heidi is trained as a chef. The wines also have the structure to age. The winery suggests both will improve for another five to seven years.
As if there will be any left!