Photo: JoieFarm's Heidi Noble
As a rising
number of 2015 wines are being released, the vintage is gaining acclaim for
having produced big ripe wines full of flavour.
argue that 2014 was an even stronger vintage. The growing season was not quite
as hot and the wines perhaps were more naturally balanced. As it happens, there
are still plenty of 2014 whites in the market and the superb 2014 reds are just
starting to be released. There is plenty of opportunity to taste and compare.
just released by JoieFarm Wines – wines from the earliest harvest on record - certainly
are as strong as any of the winery’s previous vintages. Proprietor and
winemaker Heidi Noble notes that the wines “were made naturally – they were not
acidulated, their alcohols are natural, they were not diluted.” That is quite
an accomplishment in a year when winemakers had to scramble to pick and ferment
the rapidly maturing grapes before acid dropped too much or potential alcohol
was too high.
It was a particularly
difficult for Heidi. “2015 vintage was the most challenging vintage of my
winemaking career,” she writes in her commentary on the season. “It was early,
it was hot, it was big.”
events combined to make it tough. “I was tired, had separated from my husband
and business partner of 14 years, and I had bought our winery (about to produce
its twelfth vintage),” she writes.
spring, she released the 2014 vintage, restructured JoieFarm and renovated the
farm house to create the winery’s first public tasting room. She and her staff
dealt with enthusiastic crowds of visitors, drawn by the wines and by the
before vintage, both her long-time winemaker and her lead cellar hand left
JoieFarm to work at other wineries. Then an early avalanche of grapes began
exhausted as I was while simultaneously full of adrenaline,” Heidi writes, “by
a stroke of deeper universal energies that I never knew existed, I threw it
into 5th gear for the umpteenth time. Moved by the passion to make
wine, and with everything to prove, I put my head down and my five feet of
terror went into winemaking ‘beast mode’.”
to drop in at the JoieFarm crush pad on the first day of the 2015 vintage. I
can attest that Heidi looked a little tired. However, the remaining staff in
the winery and the tasting room rallied around their leader.
fifty-right days, we gracefully, as a unified team, took down 230 tons of the
ripest, most phenolically mature and tasty grapes I had ever experienced while
continuing to welcome guests to the farm well into October,” Heidi writes.
“It was a
perfect vintage if you were on your game,” she continues. “We performed
multiple picks on the same sites: picking for acid, picking for flavour,
picking for complexity. I co-fermented, I blended, I did everything in my power
and used every arrow in my winemaking quiver to deal with the potential hazards
of a hot, early vintage.”
tastes these wine will agree that they are, as Heidi puts it, “the product of
one lady and her new team who took on the challenge of a difficult vintage and
Here are my
notes on the wines.
JoieFarm A Noble Blend 2015 ($23.90 for 6,000 cases plus 320 kegs
and 120 1.5 litre magnums). This aromatic but dry white is a blend of 47% Gewürztraminer,
32% Riesling, 10% Auxerrois, 8% Pinot Blanc, 2% Muscat and 1% Schönburger. While
the wine has seven grams of residual sugar, that is nicely balanced with 8.7
grams of acidity. The result is a wine that begins with lifted aromas of fruit
and spice. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus, green apple, melon,
melon and lychee with a lingering finish of herbs and spice. 91.
JoieFarm Muscat 2015 ($22.90 for 460 cases). The floral and spicy Muscat aromas jump from
the glass. On the palate, the lemon and lime flavours are made more intense by
the slight residual sweetness, which is nicely balanced with refreshing
acidity. The finish is fresh and juicy and quite persistent. This remarkable
wine is the perfect aperitif. Pairing it with food is always an option but I
would suggest that these pure flavours are best enjoyed on their own. 92.
JoieFarm Unoaked Chardonnay 2015 ($22.90 for 600 cases). This wine
begins with aromas of citrus and pineapple leading to flavours of apple. The
wine has good weight with a backbone of minerals. There is an elusive mildly
bitter note on the dry finish. 90.
JoieFarm Pinot Blanc 2015 ($22.90 for 560 cases). This fresh,
racy wine begins with an appealing aroma of apple and apple peelings mingled
with a hint of banana. On the palate, there is a vibrant tension between the
fruit and the acidity. The wine has flavours of green apple and grapefruit,
with a juicy refreshing crispness on the finish. 92.
JoieFarm Rosé 2015 ($20.90 for 3,200 cases). A blend of
70% Pinot Noir and 30% Gamay, this wine has grown in 10 years to be one of
British Columbia’s best-selling rosé wines. For a start, the light strawberry
colour is appealing in the glass. The wine has aromas of strawberry and
raspberry. Those fruits, along with tangy cherry and cranberry, are reflected
on the palate. Crisp and dry, this is a rosé for picnics and lunches all summer