On the nose, fresh aromas of pineapple and citrus lead to flavours of green apple, lemon and minerals on the palate. Structurally, the wine shows medium body and moderate alcohol, finishing fresh and clean.
Con Vida Vineyard, Skaha Bluff (long-term leased and farmed by JoieFarm, planted 1989); Hollenbach Family Vineyard, Skaha Bluff (planted 1993); Lux Ultima Vineyard, Peachland (planted
The vintage began with mild temperatures and little insulating snowpack in January. This made bottling and pruning very pleasant for us, but the unseasonable warmth also caused the soil to warm up, forcing the vines out of dormancy. An extended four-week cold snap in February then froze those awaken vines causing bud damage, cane damage and, in some cases, cracked trunks and straight-up vine death. Many vineyards saw smaller yields in 2019 from this thaw/freeze episode, some in Summerland and Naramata sustaining 70% loss. A lack of snow and rain during that time also meant there was little run-off or soil moisture, making for even lower yields. The spring started uneventfully with budbreak occurring in the first week of May as usual. By early June, flowering would also occur normally, although some wind and rain interrupted flowering in our Riesling vineyard (which was already affected by spotty budbreak and damage from the cold). Summer temperatures were cooler than normal with no heat spikes and many cloudy days. As result, veraison was drawn out – taking at least three to four weeks to complete (an abundance of secondary and tertiary shoots may have aided in extending the process). After a short temperature spike the last week of August and first week of September the rains started and never seemed to stop. (Environment Canada would later confirm that the Penticton area received three times more precipitation than average.) This abundance of rain created intense disease pressure and an overt lack of ripening. The rains eventually stopped with a hard frost of -7°C on October 10th, essentially ending the vintage for all intents and purposes.
While it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong in 2019, great wine could still be made by those with the experience to act quickly, the ability to pivot and a willingness to be flexible with house style. As a technical, confident winemaker with a strong grasp of organic chemistry, I was able to make rapid-fire picking calls and take immediate action in the winery. Through focusing on lighter, fresher styles and by using blending to achieve balance, we were still able to make the JoieFarm 2019 portfolio full of delicious wines as usual (just with more #maximumeffort and resolve than normally required!)
The grapes were hand-harvested and a sorting table was utilized before the grapes were de-stemmed to ensure that only healthy grapes went into the wine. After de-stemming and crushing, a slow, gentle cycle was applied via pneumatic press. No sulphur was added at the press pan, instead the juice was hyper-oxidized to ensure healthy colour and stabilize compounds during ferment. The already flavourful juice was then gently racked from its settling tank to ferment. The must was inoculated with a champagne yeast, EC-1118 to cleanly express site and vintage. A quick 12-to 16-hour settling allowed us to maintain maximum flavour and nutrients in our must before it was racked for ferment. Our glycol cooling system allowed us to achieve a clean and controlled ferment that lasted about two weeks in stainless steel. Each lot was vinified separately. We employed lees stirring until the wines were racked to be blended. No malolactic fermentation was necessary this vintage. The wine was protein and cold stabilized, then filtered using a cross-flow (a medium-free method that is the gentlest of any filtering technique). Sulphur levels were carefully managed to preserve maximum bouquet; it was added only following the second post-ferment racking and checked pre-bottling. We chose a Stelvin, screw-cap closure because we feel it is the best method available to preserve the freshness that is key to this wine.
Food Pairing Notes
This crisp Un-oaked Chardonnay is perfect for pairing with west coast seafood, especially good with fresh shucked oysters!