Piquette, a low alcohol, spritzy, funky style of wine has become the hottest trend in the industry. Much like Carhartt’s or conservas, this hipster fuelled trend was borrowed from the working class and has skyrocketed to elite status.
Now, Piquette isn’t actually new; it’s been around for centuries and was once used to serve to the farmhands in France following long days harvesting grapes. It’s made from leftover grape skins (aka pomace) that have been rehydrated and left to ferment. As you can imagine, there is little sugar left in these skins, leaving little material for fermentation. So many winemakers will add in fruit juice, honey or other types of natural sugar to help encourage fermentation. The result is a low alcohol, tart, sparkling wine.
Because Piquette is made from leftovers, it’s the most sustainable form of wine, and also a low-cost opportunity for winemakers to experiment with flavours and techniques. Many offerings have been blended with local orchard fruit, dry hopped and even doused with salt from the Bay of Fundy (and it’s really good). Here’s a handful of bottles and cans you’ll want to seek out this holiday season.
Benjamin Bridge Piquette, Gaspereau Valley, NS
The OG of Canadian Piquette, Benjamin Bridge has been making their version since 2020 from a blend of highly aromatic grape skins that have been gently seasoned with salt from the Bay of Fundy and then dry hopped with fresh Citra hops, leaving this wine with hits of tart fresh grapefruit, preserved lemon, tangerine rind and a bit of orange blossom.
Ophelia Piquette, Prince Edward County, ON
Traynor Ophelia Piquette is made from a mix of red and white grape skins with a touch of sugar added to help kick start fermentation, topped up with some local apple cider to bring a higher concentration of fruit flavours. Crunchy apples notes balance nicely against a backdrop of strawberry rhubarb.
A Sunday in August Piquette Blanc, Okanagan and Similkameen Valley, BC
Arguably some of the coolest kids on the block with it comes to Natural wine in Canada, the folks at A Sunday in August have fermented a blend Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc pomace, then added dose of organic honey to start secondary fermentation before bottling. The wine is a pleasant palate trip of fuzzy peaches, fresh nectarine and wildflowers.
Kitsch Piquette Rose, Okanagan Valley, BC
Personally dubbed, "Whiteclaw for winelovers”, this fresh and fruity can of bubbles from Kitsch winery pours an electric flamingo pink and smells like strawberry Kool-Aid and elderflower. All the fruit makes it’s way onto the palate with a fresh dose of green strawberry and gooseberry.
Bella Piquette, Okanagan Valley, BC
From the “Something Different” series of wines at BC’s exclusive sparkling wine estate, Bella Piquette is made from Gamay, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer pomace. It pours a hazy ruby with tart notes of cranberry and pomegranate seeds and a fresh funky note similar to quality Basque cider.