What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 21
Piquette Pinot Noir and Piquette Chardonnay
Meet piquette — quite possibly your favorite new summer sip.
This traditional French drink, whose name means “little wine,” is actually made by adding water to grape pomace (the skins, seeds and stems of the grapes left over after pressing), and fermenting the residual sugars.
It makes for a light tasting, low alcohol beverage.
In June, Une Femme Wines launched two canned piquettes that I had a chance to sample.
The brand was founded by Jen Pelka, owner of the now shuttered the Riddler, a Champagne bar in New York City and San Francisco, and her brother Zach.
Its intent is to produce only Champagne and sparkling wine made by women. In fact, for every bottle sold, the company makes a donation to a charity benefiting women.
With 8 percent ABV, the piquettes come in 250ml pull-tab cans.
The Piquette Pinot Noir was made by winemaker Samantha Sheehan of Van der Kamp Vineyard in Santa Rosa. Fizzy, fun, and meant to be served chilled, it’s a blend of organic, biodynamically-farmed Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This ruby red wine is bright with fresh, juicy strawberries and raspberries. Think of it as a spritzy Beaujolais.
In recognition of the losses that Van der Kamp Vineyard suffered in the 2020 wildfires, a percentage of proceeds from sales of this piquette will be donated to Three Sisters, an international nonprofit that empowers women’s efforts in tropical reforestation.
The Piquette Chardonnay was also made by Sheehan, in her role as winemaker at Three Streams Vineyard in Mendocino. Fizzy and zippy, it tastes like biting into a crisp green apple with a little pear for good measure. Produced in stainless steel, it goes down far easier on a warm day than a typical oak-aged Chardonnay.
A portion of proceeds from sales of this piquette will be donated to BÃ¢tonnage, which supports the education and mentoring of women in the wine industry.
Find four packs of the piquettes ($33) at the Une Femme Wines site, and retailers such as Bi-Rite in San Francisco, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in San Francisco, and Vintage Wine Merchants at San Jose’s Santana Row.
Cheers: The company’s name, Une Femme, means “a woman” in French, and refers to the conviction that all it takes is one woman to shatter another glass ceiling. I’ll drink to that!
2017 Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir
You probably already know the Louis Roederer family for its impeccable Champagnes. But you should also get familiar with family patriarch Jean-Claude Rouzaud’s Domaine Anderson winery in Philo that specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The biodynamic and organic grapes are grown on 50 acres in the remote Anderson Valley.
I had a chance recently to sample the 2017 Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir ($45). Ruby-hued, it is redolent of blackberries, dark plums, bramble, and a hint of graphite with velvety smooth tannins.
It’s a beautiful wine that would be fabulous with roast pork, a portobello burger, meatloaf, or mushroom risotto.
Cheers: Domaine Anderson’s winemaker is Darrin Low, an Asian American, California native who grew up working in his parents’ wine shop in Healdsburg. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degree in enology and viticulture, he went on to make wine at Grgich Hills and Flowers.
While once rare, the numbers of Asian American wine makers and winery owners have definitely grown lately. The Wine Daily compiled a list of them this year worth checking out.
2018 Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay
It smells of leafy jasmine and apricot on the nose, and made me think of lemon meringue pie at the first sip.
Who can resist that?
The 2018 Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay ($63), of which I received a sample, is a blend of fruit from both old vine clones and new plantings in the Russian River Valley that are dry-farmed.
The Sebastopol winery ages it in 39 percent new French oak for 14 months, giving it just a hint of toasty roundness without muting its bright acidity.
It’s a Chardonnay that will make you sit up and take notice. Enjoy with fish in a lemon-scented cream sauce or fettuccine Alfredo or burrata-topped pizza with zucchini flowers and lemon zest.
Cheers: Lynn Fritz originally purchased the estate and ranch in 1980, thinking it would be a side project to his primary focus as CEO of Fritz Companies, a global logistics corporation. So much for that. After UPS acquired his company, he threw himself into being a steward of the land, eventually adding to what is now a 100-acre property. His wife Aniysa, a native of India who came to the United States for her BA, MA, and PhD in business strategy and became a business school professor at age 25, took on the role of director of consumer experience at the winery. Under her guidance, the gardens were expanded, the tasting room remodeled, and food & wine programs led by Executive Chef David Frakes elevated to more prominence.