My early experience with Pinot Gris was underwhelming. Then I discovered skin-contact Pinot Gris and a whole world of gorgeous, delicious Pinot Gris opened up to me. I haven’t looked back and almost never pass up the opportunity to taste one. Joile-Laide Pinot Gris is my most recent find, a wine we purchased through a wine club called The Outliers. That’s us, wine outliers, sipping the unusual variety, location or winemaking style and loving the experience.
2018 Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris, Sonoma County — nearly neon salmon-orange in the glass and crystal clear. Generous aromas and flavors of earth, white flowers and stone fruit combine in a complex and harmonious way. The acidity is fresh and there is a bit of weight and texture as well. A grating of dried orange peel and stony minerality mingle in the background and last on the lovely, long finish. 12% abv. $32
The color of this wine was a complete surprise. The wine bottle was dark green, so the wine’s color was completely hidden until we poured the wine. And the wine’s label gave no hint as to how it was made. We expected a white wine. That gorgeous intense color was such a pleasant surprise! We sipped this wine over several evenings and it remained delicious to the last drop.
The Pinot Gris was picked early, to preserve natural acidity, before being crushed by foot for a 3-day, whole cluster, cold soak. Wild yeast fermentation in both stainless steel and neutral oak was followed by aging in neutral barrique. Little to no sulfur was added.
That gorgeous color, intense aromatics and texture all develop during that period of contact between grape skins and juice. In researching the wines of Joile-Laide I came across an interesting interview of winemaker Scott Shultz by Mason Balistreri. The title of the interview, The Beautiful, Ugly & Impossibly Delicious Wines of Jolie-Laide: Winemaker Interview, says it all. Give a listen. You’ll learn about the Jolie-Laide name and tons of other interesting stuff.