It’s always a sure sign of spring when we release our new vintage of Rosé. JoieFarm has been making rosé for 15 years – that’s a whole lot of soaking skins to juice! Always dedicated to making rosé that is purposely-built and not simply an after-thought, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the role of skin contact.
For our current release we have not one, but three skin contact wines: JoieFarm “Re-think Pink” Rosé, Chic Fille Pinot Noir Rosé, and Chic Fille Pinot Gris. All are made so delicious by the use of skin-contact but each is made with slight variations on their varietal composition and fermentation approach.
JoieFarm “Re-Think Pink” Rosé is inspired by the rosés of Anjou. It always sees a good dose of skin maceration, ensuring deep colour and flavour. Gently pressing the juice off its skins extracts very fine tannins that provide lovely texture and a versatility when pairing with food. It is made up of three red grapes, the dominant being Pinot Noir which gives it a “bowl of strawberries” profile. The addition of Gamay provides a little bit of spice and earth, while hints of raspberry and cranberry come from Pinot Meunier. The must is fermented in stainless steel like a white wine to preserve its lifted freshness and focused core of ripe fruit.
Chic Fille Rosé was originally destined to be base wine in our sparkling program, but its alluring aromas of raspberries and buttery tuile cookies were too much to resist not bottling it on its own. A particularly fruit forward rosé, it is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, de-stemmed and left on its skins overnight. The soak was shorter but achieved excellent extraction of fruit flavours as the berries were tiny and concentrated. Ferment occurred spontaneously in a neutral oak 550 L puncheon; the absence of cultured yeast allowed for complex savoury elements and helped maintain a fresh fruit profile. The result is a crushable sangria explosion of red fruits and blood oranges. It is un-fined, unfiltered and has only minimal added sulphur.
Chic Fille Pinot Gris (sold out) spent three days on its skins, resulting in an alluring dusky-pink complexion (not unlike that of actual Pinot Gris grapes!). Fermentation occurred spontaneously after six days in a neutral French barrique. A contrast to uninteresting table wines, skin-contact has brought about the aromatic and textural side of Pinot Gris. This wine is mouth-filling, exotic and tart. Once again, we left the wine unfiltered and carefully managed sulphur levels to preserve maximum bouquet and freshness.
Chic Fille Pinot Gris is my favourite wine this vintage, and it was also research and development well spent. I was so pleased with that rosé-esque experiment that I ended up adding the second round of skin-soaked Pinot Gris to the 2018 “Re-think Pink” Rosé for a fresh, textural dimension. That is the true purpose of the Chic Fille line-up: to experiment with ways of further improving the core Joie portfolio on an on-going basis.
Please enjoy these skin-contact wines with spring sunshine and picnics. Thank you for supporting the original momentum that Joie has brought to the culture and spirit of rosé drinking in British Columbia since 2004.
Artwork by Dale Nigel Goble