Two of the most collectible reds in the Okanagan are the
flagship wines from Foxtrot Vineyards and Painted Rock Estate Winery.
Both have released superb wines from the 2010 vintage. I
have notes on both, along with a note on Painted Rock’s 2010 Merlot, also just
Both wineries pull out all the stops to make their wines.
Gustav Allander, the winemaker at Foxtrot, believes the 2010 Pinot Noir is the
best he has made. I believe he has been involved in the last five vintages; the
first three were made under Foxtrot’s direction at Lake Breeze Vineyards.
The vines at Foxtrot were cropped sparingly and the bunches
were given a long hang time, with the harvest taking place on October 27.
Fermentation involved one-third whole clusters in the fermenters and two thirds
whole berries plucked from the stems very gently. In that vintage, Foxtrot was
using a new destemmer so gentle that the berries looked as if they had been
removed from the clusters by hand. With Pinot Noir, gentle handling is
paramount for the development of smooth tannins.
The berries underwent a six-day cold soak before
fermentation began. Fermentation lasted almost three weeks. Then the wine went
into new barrels to age on the lees for 18 months. It is remarkable how subtle
the oak is on the palate.
Painted Rock’s processing notes are not as extensive but one
can assured that the vines also were cropped very moderately and the grapes
were handled equally carefully. Once again, the wine was matured 18 months in
French oak, 80% of which was new.
The other news at Painted Rock is that the opening of a new
tasting room is imminent. For the last several years, the tasting room was
crammed into a temporary building. It is being replaced by an elegant and smart
wine shop with windows overlooking the vineyard and Skaha Lake
It is a million dollar view.
Here are notes on the wines.
Pinot Noir 2010 ($55). This wine begins with spicy cherry aromas. The
flavours have a core of cherry and raspberry framed by the spice of expensive
French (François Frères) oak barrels.
The wine has begun to develop the rich, silky texture that is the hallmark of
Painted Rock Red Icon
2010 ($55). The flagship of the Painted Rock portfolio, this is a blend of 21% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Franc, 11%
Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot and 11% Malbec. The wine delivers a
spectacular aroma of red berries, black currants and vanilla. The texture is
firm on opening, as it should be for a wine meant to cellared. As the wine
opens, it presents flavours of black cherry, black currant, cola, chocolate and
Painted Rock Merlot
2010 ($40). This is a rich, intense Merlot with 14.3% alcohol, denoting
surprising ripeness from a cool vintage. There was good viticulture happening
here. The wine begins with aromas of blueberry and blackberry. On the palate,
there are flavours of black currant, blueberry, cola and coffee. The tannins
still are firm and the wine deserved to be cellared four or five years to
reveal its ultimate quality. 91.