Monday, December 27, 2010

Painted Rock winery, Okanagan, British Columbia

Painted Rock Winery

I think it interesting that nothing in the Painted Rock website ( )talks about it’s owner and founder, John Skinner. Indeed, it’s almost puzzling after meeting the man because he’s just such a character... a man with a history in the financial world, and little (he says) to do with wine earlier in his life except in it’s consumption. It must have been a long and flavorful road that lead him to the Naramata Bench. Someday, I hope to hear that story in detail. Until that day, however, let me tell you the story (as I tasted it) of some of John’s wines.

2008 Chardonnay

  • Visual: ultra pale core with golden rim and slight green highlights
  • Nose: moderate+ intense of fresh hay, summer field floweres & golden apples, with a stony soil background and a finish of slightly hot alcohol
  • Palate: 0 dryness, moderate+ crisp lemon and green apple acids, moderate+ rich, velvety body, moderate+ to fully intense flavors that mimick the nose perfectly, moderate+ to full length. Very well constructed wine that will do well for the next several years (at least)
  • Pairs with: honey bruleed duck breast, or, is rich enough in flavor to pair with grilled BC Albacore tuna marinated in savory herbs

2007 Syrah

  • Visual: moderate+ ruby center with a light cherry rim
  • Nose: moderate++(full) intense completely unique bouquet; perfumed layers of exotic flowers, black stonefruit (a diverse array of plums), rich peppery finish
  • Palate: 0 dryness, moderate+ acids, moderate, soft supple tannins with a trace of siltyness, moderate+ rich body, moderate+ intense flavors that once again mimick the nose quite well, but the oak makes it’s presence known here much more, full length and structure, this wine is already showing well and will continue to develop slightly for the next several years. Enjoy until 2015.
  • Pairs with: slightly green finish from the youth of the vines makes me want to pair something fatty with this wine. Try venison flank for the flavors and a butter- enhanced demi-glaçe to balance the green acids

2007 Merlot
14.7% ABV, $40  *BUY THIS NOW*
Winner: “Best of varietal; Merlot” 2010 Okanagan Spring Wine Festival

  • Visual: moderately intense bruised plum core with cherry rim
  • Nose: fully intense bouquet of red and black stonefruit, baie rouges (red berries), garrigue (savory wild herbs; bay leaf in this case) a slightly ferric meatiness, and slightly hot alcohol at the end
  • Palate: 0 dryness, full tight acids, moderate silty tannins, moderate+ body, once again the palate mimicks the nose impeccably with a green apple finish. Excellent structure and good balance, this wine will do best with a few more years in bottle to allow the greenness to mellow... drink 2014 to 2020.
  • Pairs with: such a variety of aromas and flavors allow for diverse food pairings; from Argentinean style grilled beef chimmichurrie, to roast prime rib with a chevre demi-glaçe, to Portobello mushroom Wellington with blue cheese!
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Visual: fully intense ruby center with slight cherry-brick rim
  • Nose: fully intense aromas of dried fruit, fruit & terrior driven wine with long lingering levels of baie rouges such as black raspberries, dark cherries, baie noir such as Saskatoons, almost a cocoa finish
  • Palate: 0 dryness, moderate++ (almost fully intense) green apple acids, fully intense fine silty tannins, moderate body, moderate+ intense flavors mimicking the nose perfectly, excellent structure and a long finish. An excellent wine with a promising future, I want to taste this wine in 6 months, 12 months, 24 months to watch the progression from slightly awkward youth into a stunningly mature wine.
  • Pairs with: at first I thought the braised unctiousness of a great bolognaise, but then I reverted to thinking like a good Frenchman and am convinced that in it’s youth, this wine pairs best with a classic Boeuf Bourguignon... the cream balancing acids, the beef and wild mushrooms against the fine tannins and the savory herbs nuancing the levels in the wine

John Skinner at Monk McQueens

All in all, a fantastic showing for the second year of a winery. In the past I may have had some reluctance at tasting product from a winery this young. The delight of this tasting, however, has swayed me in my thinking... young wineries should be approached without prejudice, as indeed all wines should be approached.

And perhaps the same is true of people. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting John Skinner, though I had little idea what I may have in common with someone from the finiancial markets. It turns out that we have a great deal in common, and more then just a passion for excellence whether it is excellence in land, or excellence in the bottle. I very much look forward to the future of Painted Rock Winery and will be one of the many savvy people who lines up for the next tasting.

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