2020 – something different
And now for something completely different from Bella.
Since our first vintage in 2011 we have stayed true to our focus and only made sparkling wine from two grapes: Gamay Noir and Chardonnay. Back in 2011, Gamay was considered a “blending grape” here in BC and most people thought we were crazy to choose that as our red grape over Pinot Noir, a Champagne standard. Back then we had no problem getting Gamay, no one really wanted it. Now fast forward: #gogamaygo is a real thing and it has become harder and harder for us to source fruit, let alone organic fruit. As of 2019 only 178 acres, of the total 10,260 acres planted in the province, were Gamay Noir. There are many reasons why small producers struggle to get fruit: consolidation in our industry, large players setting up shop and wanting to come out swinging, virtual wineries popping up and want this hip “new” grape. Whatever the reason, it has been a real struggle for us to grow to our desired 3500 cases using only Gamay and Chardonnay.
We need to adapt to grow. We need to come up with something different …
Imagine how weird? exciting? interesting? our path will be if we contemplate using other grapes? We’ll always be a bubble house but what new grape should we invite to this party? This new path allows us to consider:
- fruit from unique sites that we’ve been curious about;
- supporting smaller, local growers that are experimenting with weird varietals;
- many times we have to take the fruit from the entire vineyard just to get the Chardonnay and Gamay and now we can play with the other varietals on the property instead of (a) passing on the vineyard or (b) having to sell fruit we don’t use;
The opportunities are endless – just like the thought process you go through when you’re starting a new winery.
Speaking of new, we didn’t want brand confusion so this “something different” needs to have a new label! If you’ve been to the farm, and our tasting room, then you know the biggest characters here, outside of our bull dog Buddha, are our pigs. We name them each year and they have crazy unique personalities. They watch over the back Gamay block and encourage us to do different things, be flexible and adapt. This first label is dedicated to them – well, to Sal (aka Salami) who was quite the instigator.
Something Different allows Jay to deeper explore the creative tendencies he brings to our sparkling wine program …
2020 Something Different – Piquette
In France, a long time ago, laborers and vineyard hands sometimes got paid in grape pomace (the pressed pulp, skins, seeds, etc that is remaining in the press after we have pressed off the juice to make wine) which they then took home, added water and allowed to ferment. This created a low alcohol wine with a gentle spritz. Think of it as the “wine spritzer” of the 19th century.
For this vintage, we used the pressings from three clones of gamay (for a dark pink colour) and chardonnay and added riesling and gewurztraminer to help balance the acidity and flavour. We let the pomace water ferment dry and then prior to bottling we added champagne yeast and sugar to give it a gentle spritz in the bottle. With a floral nose, dark berries on the palate and at 5.7% alcohol, consider the 2020 Piquette your new wine-spritzer of the COVID spring season. This is crushable go-go juice for summer patios and, with low alcohol and “bi-product pricing”, this will fly.
- Method: Ancestrale, not disgorged (contains original lees)
- Ingredients: Grape Pomace, Water, 20ppm Sulphur
- Released February 1st, 2021
- Product 750ml: CSPC +48666 | SOLD OUT | 250 cases | 5.7% Alcohol
2020 Something Different – Pinot Blanc
This is our first time working with Pinot Blanc so we wanted to experiment with extended skin contact. Nine days on skins gives this amber bubble incredible structure for a very fun and food friendly wine. Layered with stewed apricot and a fresh melon rind palate we suggest decanting this bubble or drink slowly, to open it up and realize its depth of flavour.
- Method: traditional method, disgorged, no dosage
- Ingredients: Grapes, Champagne Yeast EC1118, local honey
- Released April 1st, 2021
- Product 750ml: CSPC +48708 | SOLD OUT | 1,100 bottles
2020 Something Different – PB&C
“PB&C”, a cheeky riff on PB&J, is a blend of pinot blanc and the “hard” pressings of chardonnay. A hard press is pressing the fruit a second and sometimes third time to extract every ounce of juice from the fruit. In our case, after the first press, we put the pomace aside to sit and then, kicking it old school, foot stomp the pomace for two days for greater extraction. The extra days that the chardonnay juice is in contact with the fruit (“skin contact”) also provides an incredible amber colour and great tannic structure while the pinot blanc contributes a fresh melon citrusy palate.
- Method: traditional method, disgorged, no dosage
- Ingredients: Grapes, Champagne Yeast EC1118, sugar, 20ppm Sulphur
- Released June 1st, 2021
- Product 750ml: CSPC +48713 | $34.90 | 1,859 bottles