I’m transfixed as the chrome-wrapped tanks capture the sunshine streaming through the winery’s windows, creating an iridescence rainbow of purples and blues. The intoxication of the colours continues as I glance down at the Rosé wine in my glass, a soft hue of peachy pink.
The wine’s name: Transfiction.
I’m on-site at one of the hottest and largest vineyards in the Okanagan (400 acres), part of the holdings of the Mark Anthony Group. The exclusive Red Barn Winery at Jagged Rock Vineyard is now welcoming guests and showcasing its unique approach to its portfolio of wines. Proprietor Anthony von Mandl has built a program focussing solely on the grapes grown on-site, emphasizing Italian varietals and an absence of oak in the winemaking process.
The striking Red Barn, designed by architect Tom Kundig, sits at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by a rugged rock face and lush vines. Built 20 years ago, the barn first housed all the forklifts and tractors needed for the vineyard. Then, four years ago, Kundig transformed the space, and like the winemaking, the traditional clashed with the unconventional.
The wine labels help to tell the story of von Mandl’s vision for Red Barn. The 2021 Parts Unknown ($50) features a vessel sailing to the edge of the sea, fully ready to drop off the edge of the earth (painted by French artist Sébastien del Grosso.)
For some Okanagan wine lovers, the parts that make up this unique small lots red blend may also be unknown. Winemaker Kaylee Barss has blended the Italian varietal Barbera (60%) with Cabernet Franc (20%), Syrah (15%) and five percent Viognier.
Crafted in the custom-made Lasi stainless steel fermenters and then aged in concrete, an earthy, finely balanced wine has developed. With notes of coffee, the many subtle flavours are ready to be explored.
The juicy Sangiovese Italian varietal adds acidity to the 2021 Transfiction Blended Rosé ($30). Whole cluster pressed with Cabernet Franc and Syrah, this elegant lady has plenty of charm, with her strawberry notes on the nose and rhubarb on the palate. While the velvetiness finish may transfix, her label — created by designer Cody Dingle — will mesmerize.
Aging in concrete adds texture and fullness to wine, which shows in spades in the Lost Art Semillon ($30). With only 60 cases crafted of this premium wine, the winery has set it aside exclusively for its club members. Lemon notes greet you, then stretch into a very long finish. While fresh, bright and crisp, the wine also exhibits a velvety finish, an earmark of the concrete winemaking process.
The jagged edge label features a stunning painting by Vancouver artist Kathy Ager and pays homage to the lost art of winemaking in pottery vessels. (see top photo)
Red Barn at Jagged Rock is open for tastings by appointment; however, as the days lengthen, the patio will be open late to enjoy a glass and the sunset. Once again, they are going against the grain, extending visiting hours much longer than their neighbouring wineries. Reserve at: exploretock.com/redbarnwinery.
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