Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JoieFarm's 2010s showcase the vintage's mouthwatering tartness

Photo: JoieFarm winery

In her recent biweekly wine commentary for CBC radio, Barbara Philip MW recommended the JoieFarm 2010 A Noble Blend as a great wine for summer.

I would recommend all of JoieFarm’s 2010 wines, which were released this spring, for summer drinking, if we ever get summer. While the wines likely are sold out at the winery, most are still available in private wine stores and on numerous restaurant wine lists.

The 2010 vintage, JoieFarm’s seventh, was the coolest in the Okanagan since 1996. In spite of that – or perhaps because of the conditions – the white wines from that vintage are remarkable. Almost every one that I have tasted, including those from JoieFarm, show crisp, vibrant fruit and aromas, usually with racy acidity that give the wines a refreshing tang.

How have so many producers made good wines in such a tough year? JoieFarm explains what it did. Its commentary applies generally.

“In spite of a cool late spring, a short summer and a colder than normal September, we have still been able to craft some of our finest wines to date,” JoieFarm owners Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble write. “Timely vineyard practices and the early decision to crop down by about 20% ensured that the remaining grapes have every opportunity to ripen properly. … October was warm and dry and the longer hangtimes allowed for full phenolic development. [This resulted] in intense flavours and aromas that were augmented by the zippy acidity of the vintage.”

Michael and Heidi added that “the cool 2010 vintage reinforced our belief that the Germanic and Burgundian varietals are the most appropriate for the Okanagan’s sometimes marginal climate. Seven vintages in, we feel that we can take almost anything that Mother Nature throws at us, short of an earthquake.”

Here are notes on the 2010 JoieFarm releases.

JoieFarm Chardonnay 2010 Un-Oaked ($22.90 for a production of 1,008 cases). This wine includes 22% Chardonnay Musqué, a clone that has a spicy aroma. This wine has aromas of lemon and lime, flavours of green apples and a crisp, refreshing finish. It immediately reminded me of Chablis. The winery’s notes say that the inspiration for this wine are the Burgundies of Macon as well as Chablis. 89.

JoieFarm Muscat 2010 “The Pure Grape” ($22.90 for a production of 453 cases). This wine is made from the first harvest of the winery’s two acres of Moscato Giallo or Yellow Muscat. Michael and Heidi gave it the nickname of the pure grape because the wine tastes almost exactly like the grapes. The wine begins with floral and spicy aromas. The flavours are remarkably intense, showing notes of citrus and white peach. There is a long, spicy finish. The residual sugar is well balanced with bright acidity. 88.

JoieFarm Riesling 2010 ($22.90 for a production of 1,119 cases). The nickname is “a delicate balance” – a reference to the balance between the bracing acidity, the residual sweetness (25 grams) and the moderate 11.9% alcohol. The wine dances lightly on the palate, with favours of lime and lemon, and has a very refreshing finish. As appealing as it is now, you should also lay a few bottles down for a year or two. Riesling has a legendary ability to become deliciously complex with age. This wine will age well. 91.

JoieFarm A Noble Blend 2010 ($23.90 for a production of 2,671 cases and 552 magnums). The model is the traditional Alsace blend, Edelzwicker, which means noble blend. This is 43% Gewurztraminer, 38% Riesling, 14% Pinot Auxerrois and 5% Pinot Gris, with grapes from eight vineyards as well as from JoieFarm. Putting this wine together – including sorting the fruit at a sorting table – must have been the enological equivalent of doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. The wine begins with aromas of rose petals, herbs and grapefruit. On the palate, there is layer upon layer of flavour – grapefruit, melon, apricot. There is a kiss of sweetness on the mid-palate balanced with tangy acidity in the refreshing finish. 90.

JoieFarm Rosé 2010 ($20.90 for a production of 2,198 cases and 552 magnums). This is an astonishing volume of rosé but wines like this have come strongly back in favour in the last five years, with JoieFarm setting the standard. This is 53% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier, 12% Gamay and 10% Pinot Gris. The wine has a lovely hue that the winery describes as “bright watermelon” and quite dramatic aromas of strawberries and cherries. It has flavours of strawberry, cranberry and pomegranate. The dry (but not austere) finish and the good weight on the palate make this a satisfying and refreshing wine with many foods. 91.


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