2011 was a long and cool growing season without the extreme daytime heat the South Okanagan is known for. This resulted in grapes that achieved full phenolic ripeness at record low sugar levels (and thus low alcohol levels). South Okanagan had an amazing fall with mild weather which gave us the luxury of a seven week long picking window. 2011 goes into the history book as an atypical, yet very welcome vintage.
A mere 62 cases of Retouche are made. Retouche pays homage to the historical practice of “Hermitaging” wines in Bordeaux during the 1800’s. Winemakers in Bordeaux added Syrah (often from the famous vineyards in Hermitage) to their wines to add warmth, roundness and comfort-characters sometimes missing from the structured, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon.
It would be incorrect to simply call Retouche a Cab/Syrah. We conducted dozens of trials with various barrel samples and different percentages of Syrah to achieve the result we were looking for. In the end we succeeded, adding only enough Syrah to our Cabernet Sauvignon that it sits invisibly behind the Cabernet filling in the gaps. After all, it wasn’t until the late 1900s that the world learned about this fraudulent practice in Bordeaux.
This will be released in about a year. The wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon that, in the former tradition of Bordeaux, has been “touched up” with 20 percent of Syrah. The wine begins with classic minty Cabernet Sauvignon aromas. On the palate, the black currant flavours also show a touch of mint. The addition of Syrah probably accounts for the supple and ripe texture.
John Schreiner | Tasted: Feb 4, 2014