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First, a disclosure. For me, piquette has recently become problematic.
Not piquette itself; after all, piquette has a long and valid history. Derived from the French word prickle, piquette is not wine at all but a secondary beverage made by adding water — and perhaps some sugar — to the grape pomace left over from winemaking. It is the scraps of wine, essentially, and historically was made cheaply and served to vineyard workers, and slaves, reputedly. Great in the name of recycling and zero waste, to be sure. However, recently there’s been a push to make piquette cool — and to raise prices accordingly.
Bartier Bros. White Piquette, B.C.
($15.99 for 4-355mL cans, available through the winery and select private wines stores)
The pleasant reality is that piquette makes a fine summertime beverage thanks to its prickly, refreshing spritz and naturally lower alcohol content, which is another reason it was served as the lunchtime beverage for field workers. But let’s not try to curate it into a lifestyle. It makes it all the more refreshing to see the honest rationale from well-regarded Okanagan winery Bartier Bros., who explain their motivation for making piquette as “…to address the rising costs of winemaking and to cut down on waste, by making more wine out of the same grapes.” The result is light, citrusy tart, and comes across dry overall — simple and refreshing.
Bottom line: B, Full-on summer vibes
Strange Fellows Brewing PomPom Piquette-Rosé Spritz, B.C.
($19.40 for 4-355mL cans, available through the winery and select private wines stores)
After a few years of seeing fancy bottled piquettes, it feels like there’s an overall shift toward plonking piquette into cans. This feels like a good trend to better capture piquette’s casual and fun allure. But it begs the question, sip from the can or pour into a wine glass? Strange Fellows — a brewery, no less — is helpful with their advice right on the label: “Best enjoyed in a glass in good company.” Pouring deep pink with only a hint of fizz, this fun and fruity rosé indeed comes across as wine-like, with ample aromatic red fruit and good mouth feel before a fresh, tangy finish.
Bottom line: B+, Barbecue piquette!
Synchromesh Paddle Shift Riesling Spritzer, B.C.
(around $8.00 for 250mL can, available at select private wine stores)
Or, why not ditch the French inflection and simply call a spade a spade? Or in this case, a spritz a spritz? Synchromesh, another reputable Okanagan winery, calls their piquette Paddle Shift, which in the winery’s words “…contains a little bit of fruit from each property we farm for Riesling, brought together with a light soda spritz to make the ultimate mid-week companion… or anytime.” It sure smells like Riesling, with evident citrus and that aromatic Riesling panache, followed by an off-dry entry and a proper twang to finish.
Bottom line, B Fancy, classy “wine cooler”
The Swirl: Bard in the Valley
While some of this year’s Bard in the Valley performances have already come and gone, there’s still opportunity to catch the troupe’s take on Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. Performances run July 20-23 at Douglas Park, 20550 Douglas Cres., Langley, with tickets by donation. The play then shifts to Bakerview Eco Dairy, at 1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford, from July 27-29, with festival seating tickets $35 — and pre-order food is available from Ravens Brewing Co. For complete details head to www.bardinthevalley.com/.
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