Friday, July 4, 2014

JoieFarm's 2013s: still available and worth buying

Photo: JoieFarm's Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble

To my surprise, the price list at my local VQA store currently includes 12 of JoieFarm’s wines.

Now, that list is not always up to date. The point is that there are certain to be some available for purchase there. A few years ago, none would have been available by mid-summer.

I am sure that JoieFarm is still selling out its 15,000-case annual production before the next vintage comes crowding along. It just seems to take a bit longer.

That is a comment on the remarkable proliferation of British Columbia wineries during the last five years. Consumers have ever more choice. That is the only reason why JoieFarm is not selling out as fast it once did, because the quality of the wines has not slipped. If anything, they are better than ever.

Consider the scores I found myself giving to the winery’s recent 2013 releases. These are wines from a producer at the top of its game.

I have always marveled
that, with the exception of its own small vineyard on the Naramata Bench, JoieFarm makes its excellent wines with purchased grapes. It is an axiom that a winery has more control over the grapes in its own vineyard than in a grower’s vineyard.

However, JoieFarm owners Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble, along with their winemaker, Robert Thielicke, seem to have cultivated exemplary relations with contract growers. The growers generally are acknowledged in the wine specification sheets, available on JoieFarm’s website. Important details like that, along with regular visits to vineyards, go a long way in getting good fruit.

Here are my notes on JoieFarm’s 2013s which, happily for consumers, still seem to be available.

JoieFarm  A Noble Blend 2013 ($23.90 for 6236 cases, 486 magnums and 90 double magnums). There are six varietals in this blend: Gewürztraminer (45%), Riesling (38%), Pinot Auxerrois (8%), Pinot Blanc (4%), Muscat (4%) and Schönburger (1%). Not surprisingly, this is quite aromatic, with aromas of rose petals, spice, lychee and peach.  On the palate, there are layers of fruit flavours – grapefruit, lychee, guava with a dash of lime on the finish. The texture is full, with 10.6 grams of residual sugar against moderate acidity. The finish lingers. 91.

JoieFarm Un-oaked Chardonnay 2013 ($22.90 for 901 cases). This is a ripe and juicy white, with aromas of pineapple and apple. The wine has a generous palate, with flavours of apples and white peaches. The model is Chablis and Macon but with the Okanagan ripeness, resulting in 14.1% alcohol. 90.

JoieFarm Pinot Blanc 2013 ($22.90 for 438 cases).  Over the years, JoieFarm has elevated this reliable workhorse grape variety into a serious Alsace-style white. The grapes are from 26-year-old vines grown by St. Hubertus in East Kelowna. It has generous fruit on the nose and palate; fresh apples and a hint of grapefruit. The wine is juicy but balanced to finish dry with hint of minerality. The finish is persistent. 91.

JoieFarm Riesling 2013 ($22.90 for 1,100 cases). The winery calls this wine “a delicate balance” – reflecting the exquisite balance of bracing acidity (9.2 grams) with natural sweetness (17 grams per litre). The wine has alluring aromas of lime and green apple, carrying on to flavours of lime, lemon and green apple. The spine of minerals comes from the old vines (average age 34 years) that produced the intensely flavoured grapes. The crisp, mouth-watering finish lingers forever. 92.

JoieFarm Muscat 2013 ($22.90 for 483 cases). This is made from the winery’s own two acres of Moscato Giallo, or Yellow Muscat, grapes. The intensity of the aromas and flavours is remarkable. It begins with the classic aromas of spice and ginger. On the palate, there are grapey flavours, with notes of lime. The wine is balanced to finish just slightly off-dry. The moderate 12% alcohol gives the wine just the touch of lightness that saves it from overwhelming the palate with its intensity. 91.

JoieFarm Rosé 2013 ($20.90 for 2,838 cases.) This is one of the three Okanagan rosé wines launched in the mid-1990s that have made it popular to drink pink. Now, well over half the wineries offer rosé wines and consumers recognize that these are delicious throughout the year. The JoieFarm rosé a blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Gamay (40%). The hue is almost fluorescently bright and is visually appealing. The aromas are quite dramatic; cherry and strawberry burst from the glass. The wine delivers those berry flavours, along with a hint of raspberry and a touch of sage. The wine is balanced to finish refreshingly dry. 90


At July 7, 2014 at 7:09 AM , Blogger Michael Dinn said...


Thank you for the great reviews and the compliments. To be accurate we now have a full viticulture team and we farm 36 of the 70 acres from which we source. We own 11.5 acres with our new property coming on line this year and the other 24.5 are leased.


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