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
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
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.
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
($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.
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
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