Henry & Stephanie Yuen
As in most cases for award-winning recipes, having fresh, top quality ingredients; blood and sweat hard work would almost guarantee you are half way to success. When making top quality wines, there is no difference!
Having top quality grapes allows the winemaker room to manoeuvre when crafting the final product. The support of an estate winery often ensures sound viticulture practice. The timing of the harvest, pressing, processing, as well as aging can most of the time be carried out in the optimum conditions to metamorphose the grapes to into great wines.
Such is the perfect example with the wines from the McWatters Collection in the Okanagan Valley. Being a stalwart in the BC wine industry, Harry McWatters is in the best position to craft outstanding wines because of his experience and foresight.
Choosing a vineyard in the Black Sage Bench area in Oliver,BC, however small, to grow his grapes wins half the battle. It’s an ideal terrior with long hot days and cool nights, sandy but stone-free earth that drains well; and moisture from the Okanagan Lake and surrounding waters granted this area the ideal grape growing region.
The results are two outstanding wines worth getting our hands on. The 2010 Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay from the Black Sage Bench that mature in French Oak. The result is an intense, full-bodied, well-made Chardonnay with tropical fruits and Asian spices on the nose. The palate, with a hint of citrus and grape fruit, is traditional Chardonnay buttery, A refreshing finish that is well-balanced, this wine has an attractive golden colour that translates to a serious and lovely Chardonnay. Relatively small in production, best to get a few into the cellar, the earlier the better, in case stock runs out – only 125 cases are made! Try this with Chinese soy & mei-gui-lu (cooking wine) poached chicken, a pan-fried Filet of salmon with mushroom cream sauce, Pan-fried pork chop with onion or a Seafood fried-rice.
Equally impressive is the McWatters Collection 2007 Meritage. Meritage is a tricky business that not a lot of BC winemakers are willing to experiment with local grapes. However, this Meritage, with 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, is well-balanced. We do enjoy this as a big league Meritage for the competitive price of $25. The pleasing nose is of blackberry, dark cherry with a hint of clove and mint. The texture is smooth and velvety. The tannins are soft after 15 months in French Oak and another 15 months in bottle to ensure its structure is typical Meritage. As a 2007, it is ready to enjoy immediately. On the palate, it is rich, fruity with a hint of spiciness and cassis that gives enough depth to the mouth feel, truly a well-crafted VQA wine that puts all the right elements together from a well-respected BC wine industry icon. Pair this beautiful round and soothing red wine with grilled steak, roasted lamb, barbequed ribs or a clay pot of Asian-braised pork slices or ox-tails.