Piquette is a wine-like thing. The French claim it, but like many basic, but tasty things, it probably had many origins. Pressed grape pomace is soaked in water and bottled as a simple, farm beverage.
As it happens, the sale of Piquette is banned in the EU, so any actually made in France has to be consumed by wine-growers themselves. If you’d like to know more, Jamie Goode has an article on the topic here.
But, back to here…
In past years, we would press grapes and then discard the skins by composting them. The truth is — eschewing the use of any enzymes — there is still a lot of juice left in the skins at that stage, and it always felt like a bit of a waste. Compost is good, but the idea of making something else out of them is even better. It’s also a lot of fun! It’s not wine, it’s not meant to be wine and so where these go is really up to the imagination and what chemistry and the palate will allow.
Our first piquette was made in 2021 and to be honest, it had a few challenges that I found difficult to overcome. One of the big ones is keeping it clean tasting. Water has a high pH and this puts the piquette at risk of bacterial contamination. There is also a lack of balance since the acidity is so low.
Following along conventional winemaking, the pH needs to be lowered and this is usually done using tartaric acid. In 2022 I harvested a small portion of our vineyard in August and aged the low alcohol wine under Flor to develop a slightly nutty taste. This Flor aged verjus was used throughout harvest to acidify our piquettes naturally.
You could say that made the 2022 Piquettes go full circle, and align with our low-intervention ethos! These are fun to drink with their complex, refreshing herbaceous notes — chilled as they are, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.
I'm sure the French would agree!