What The Heck is Piquette?
Piquette has been the en vogue style on the lips of producers around the globe for the last year or so. This frizzante, lower in alcohol wine product has got everyone expecting an avalanche of the style to come just in time for summer. At this stage, we haven't seen it. Not to say that there haven't been some excellent ones released recently (Camwell, BK Wines, FIN and Jamsheed to name a few). But it's got myself and plenty of others curious: what's behind the hype?
Maybe it comes down to the crafting of the juice itself. Essentially, it's a maceration of the leftover grape skins after pressing the juice to be fermented into wine. More often than not, there is leftover fermentable sugars left in the used skins. After doing the bidding of their masters, the ingenious winemaking peasants of ancient Rome and Greece macerated the skins, seeds and stems of the pressed grapes with water, kicking off another fermentation and creating a second vinous beverage for the common folk. Piquette is nothing if not democratic.
A couple of millennia later, times have changed, and now even the common folk enjoy the fruits of winemaking. So then, why bother with piquette? Looking at it through another lens is an excellent way to create value from something no longer of use. We have a great arrangement with local farmers in the Adelaide Hills to take our grape pressings (pomace) as a sweet treat for their cows. Still, there is room to get just a little more out of these grapes that have given so much.
This 'little more' comes with plenty upsides:
1. By adding water, we're able to strike a balance of flavour and drinkability on par with mid-strength beer or seltzer.
2. We can make it with any grape. It's a beverage sandbox with untapped potential.
3. It's a more sessionable drink for those all-day summer shindig.
4. No extra produce needed; it's put together only with things we already had lying around.
So here it is, Pixel Piquette, our first swing at this emerging drinks category, and we've done it in the usual Unico style. First, we ferment Fiano skins with water until bone dry, then add a bit of still Fiano wine to bring it up to 3.5% ABV. This brings some lovely acidity and texture before sending it down to our good friends Little Bang Brewing to pop it in cans with some bubbles.
The result? Outrageous refreshment. Ask anyone on the team; we are absolutely loving Pixel. There are only 200 cases, so get in quick before we drink 'em all!
Don't fret if you miss out. We'll probably do these again...