In 2017 we decided to do a fun, little experiment: make two different Pinot Noirs from the exact same grapes, the same vineyard site, and by giving them the same winery protocol. The difference? The yeast strains!
Chic Fille Hollenbach Pinot Noir Ambient was left to naturally and spontaneously ferment with ambient yeast while the Chic Fille Hollenbach Pinot Noir was inoculated with a favourite Burgundian cultured yeast strain, RC 212.
The results are fascinating. Yes, yeast matters! The Chic Fille Hollenbach Pinot Noir Ambient presents a very precise expression of the site and vintage, really highlighting a fresh fruit character. The Chic Fille Hollenbach Pinot Noir made with Burgundian yeast strain showcases the varietal's supple texture, fine tannins and deep, dark cherry flavours.
We originally released Hollenbach Pinot Noir as a duo with the Ambient version with the intention of them being enjoyed side-by-side so they could be compared and contrasted. While we now sell each on its own, we still recommend trying both together to really appreciate the results yeast has on a wine’s flavours and characteristics.
The Chic Fille label is a fun, experimental label made by JoieFarm winemaker Heidi Noble and apprentice winemaker Alyssa Hubert. The Chic Fille wines have been initiated by a keen interest to learn and teach at JoieFarm. They were inspired by Heidi’s desire to revisit techniques that she had used when first teaching herself how to make wine. Many of these practices such as native fermentation, lees contact, skin contact, and semi-carbonic ferments have become incorporated into the cellar at JoieFarm over the course of 15 vintages. The Chic Fille label re-visits each one of the techniques singularly with the goal of making fun, textural, eminently drinkable, and interesting wines. Overall, these wines will help us improve the core JoieFarm portfolio as they continue to showcase the potential for wine created in a cool-climate, lake-moderated desert terroir.
Varietal: Pinot Noir 100%
- Hollenbach Vineyard, Skaha Bluffs (clone 113).
The Hollenbach Vineyard, located on the beautiful Skaha Bluff, is a cherished vineyard site in the JoieFarm portfolio. Fritz Hollenbach has been growing Pinot Noir Clone 113 for JoieFarm since 2008 and has been an essential component for our Rosé.
The Skaha Bluff is an amazing micro-climate. It very much personifies the cool-climate, lake-moderated desert terroir of the Central Okanagan. In particular, this site sits just below a massive granite face of the bluff which acts as a big heat sink, intensifying the heat units of our dessert climate in the summertime, achieving very fruit-driven Pinot Noir. The bluff also holds onto cool air in the autumn extending our harvest time and allowing them to achieve maturity gradually preserving their brisk acidity while doing so. This intensely fresh, fruit-driven Pinot was the impetus of this fun project.
- The fruit was hand-picked and a sorting table was utilized to select only the best fruit. A portion of the fruit was selected to be crushed and de-stemmed and then fermented in small, open-top, 500L fermenters which allows for flexible temperature control, gentle handling of fruit, and ease of punch downs. One fermenter was spontaneously allowed to ferment on its own after being gradually warmed up after a 3-day cold soak. The other fermenter was inoculated with a favourite Burgundian yeast, RC-212, after a 3-day cold soak and gently warmed up to cellar temperature. This style of red fermentation allows us to preserve fresh fruit character. After fermentation, the wines were twice pressed off the skins and settled for 24 hours before being racked to a 500 L barrel where spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurred. Then the wines were aged for 10 months in neutral Burgundian puncheon on fine lees as to not overwhelm the delicate fruit profile of this single vineyard Pinot Noir experiment. After a winter and spring of barrel age, the wine was racked out of barrel and settled before bottling. The wine was unfiltered and unfined. Both Hollenbach Pinot Noirs were aged for nine months in bottle before release.
- Both wines have a bright ruby colour and aromas of dried rose petals, black tea and tobacco. We find the main difference between is more in the flavours and texture; Hollenbach Ambient is an ‘easier’, more fruit-forward Pinot with lifted cherry-pie flavours, while the Hollenbach fermented with the RC-212 possesses deeper bing cherry flavours and fine cocoa tannins on the finish.
Both Hollenbach Pinots are very ‘apèro’ friendly. We especially recommend enjoying the Ambient with cheese, charcuterie and mushroom/nut pâté, while the inoculated Hollenbach is an excellent pairing for duck, smoked fish (salmon!) and coastal mushroom dishes. One of our favourites for both is a Saucisson sec (Oyama Sausage Co. on Granville Island makes an excellent one!). Other happy pairings we'd recommend for these wines include chicken liver parfait or grilled chicken hearts, foie gras torchon, game meats, or stuffed dates/figs.