Did you hear last year that Painted Rock’s flagship Red Icon wine was listed in a Beijing restaurant at 5,280 RMB, the equivalent of CAD$900? Quite a statement for a small, but high quality BC winery. The latest red wine releases for Painted Rock just came out, and I was invited to sample them. I wondered how the 2011 vintage would taste because 2011 was an overall cooler vintage, which could impact red grapes that need all the heat units they can get in BC to fully ripen. I briefly spoke with winery owner, John Skinner about the vintage. He did note the cooler climate, and how this vintage was a bit more restrained and lighter intensity. Maybe a bit more like an Old World wine? Let’s see.
- Painted Rock Merlot 2011 – Ripe plum and purple fruit and vanilla nose. A bit of cherries too. Medium plus body, with fine tannins that pick up mid to finish. Ripe dark fruit flavours. Some leafiness on the finish together with some chocolate.
- Painted Rock Red Icon 2011
– A blend 30% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite surprising to have a BC red blend that has Malbec in the largest proportion followed by Cabernet Franc. An interesting blend that maybe pushes us in new directions? The wine spent 18 months in 50% new french oak. It has a lighter intensity nose, with vanilla, red fruit and cassis aromas. Higher acidity and some minerality. Dry with medium plus body, Dark fruit, cherries and plums on the palate. Finishes dry but not puckering, and you do get some mouth watering acidity. I really enjoyed this wine.
- Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – Medium intensity nose, understated, with vanilla, and hint of capsicum, dark chocolate and black fruit aromas. Fairly full body with a medium weight feel. The tannins come in silky and build, becoming firm on the finish. Also has minerality running through it. Dark fruit, oak and vanilla flavours on the palate. Another good quality wine.
- Painted Rock Syrah 2011 – Very nice nose. A mix of black cherry and very ripe raspberry, with some vanilla in the back. Medium plus body, dry with bright purple fruit, cassis and blueberry flavours, together with vanilla. Silky tannins from start to end leaving you with a soft finish and mouth watering acidity. Across the tongue you get a salty minerality which was quite interesting to me. I also did pick up some leafiness on the finish. A very enjoyable wine.
How would I say the cooler 2011 climate affected this vintage? I did find that the wines did have a lighter intensity nose, higher acidity and medium body in general. For 2 of the wines on the finish, I did also get some leafiness. But overall I do not see these as problems, rather the effects of terroir, and something we should celebrate. It would be terribly boring if vintage after vintage tasted the same. Maybe these wines will also age longer compared to their warmer vintages? Time will tell, but I can tell you that these are very good quality wines that you should consider to purchase, and taste over several years.
Would I say this vintage is more Old World in style? The wines are more restrained, but the brighter fruit flavours, and softer tannins, would make me put the wines in the New World. And that is where we are; in the New World. So why not celebrate our terroir?