2017 Wine Club Letter
Greetings Wine Club Members,
Firstly, please accept the sincere thanks of the Skinner family and the entire Painted Rock team for your support of our winery through your wine club membership. Before you are the reds from our 2015 vintage including our Red Icon for Iconic Club members and our 2016 Chardonnay for our Skaha Six Club members.
2015 was our ninth vintage and our vines were, by then, eleven years old. Vintage started very early in 2015 and it remained hot and dry the entire time. Recognizing the particularly early start, our Bordeaux consultant Alain Sutre made the following early declaration to the Painted Rock vineyard team, “No leaf removal this year and I want the highest canopy you can maintain.” His concern was that with the early start we should forestall ripening by allowing shade rather than encouraging ripening as we normally would have done.
This was a clear departure from previous vintages but as our fortunes would show, the perfect call. Had we removed leaves and kept a lower canopy the fruit would have ripened too quickly in August creating higher sugars and not allowing for the necessary phenolic ripeness. We could not have had better advice. Our fruit was some of the latest hanging in the valley and the resulting wines are exceptional!
When Alain blends our Red Icon it is typically an exhausting exercise where he analyses the components and over a number of blends, creates the perfect combination. The subtlest tweak any one of the components can have a profound effect on the ultimate blend. When blending the 2015 Red Icon, with approximately 85% of the blend done, Alain looked to our assistant winemaker Gabe Reis (who incidentally is doing a wonderful job) and said, “Now I want you to combine the remainder.” Gabe and I looked at one another quizzically as normally Alain does the final tweaking down to the tiniest of percentages. “Just put the rest together. Everything is perfect. There is nothing with a flaw so I’m sure it will work”. A short while later Gabe was pouring the sample for all of us and Alain’s smile was ear to ear. As you can expect, so was mine and Gabe’s.
This journey is really getting fun. My wife Trish and I have now moved to a home just south of the winery and I’m generally at or around the winery. Nothing brings me greater joy than sharing the experience so, as a club member please don’t hesitate to book a tour and tasting iwht me if you are in the area.
Sincere thanks for your continued support!
John W. Skinner
Painted Rock Estate Winery Ltd.