Wine Maven: September October 2019

A tribute to British Columbia wine icon Harry McWatters; rosé for fall; meet the new owners at Vines Wine Merchants and the Wine Maven Calendar.

by Mary Bailey

William Bincoletto (L) and Steve Richmond of Vines
William Bincoletto (L) and Steve Richmond of Vines

Steve Richmond and William Bincoletto are the new operators of Vines Wine Merchants in Riverbend. They bought out former owner Dave Gummer earlier this summer. He had opened the store in 2004, the first fine wine shop in south west Edmonton. Both William and Steve joined in the fall of 2006. “We are extremely excited to be in this new venture,” says William. “Our job is to make sure we continue what Dave did so well—to continue his legacy of professionalism, with the customer always at the top of the pyramid,” says William. “The whisky wall was Steve’s idea, and we have over 300 spirits from $50-$25,000—those kinds of products are really hard to find. Being Italian, I’m very proud of our Italian section. And we are looking at new things, like natural wines. I have to open my eyes to new possibilities.

“Wine is my life, my soul,” says William. “It’s my 46th year in wine since I took sommelier training in Paris. I was there during the Judgement of Paris—I used to shop at Steven Spurrier’s store!”

Gerard Bertrand Gris Blanc IGP Pays D’oc Rosé and Roger Goulart Coral Rosé Cava

No need to put away the pinks, we might get some rosé drinking weather yet. The Gerard Bertrand Gris Blanc IGP Pays D’oc Rosé is everything you want in a rosé from the south of France—pale coral colour, bone dry, delicate berry flavours. Drink with crudité and hummus and think of the beach.

Pink cava can often be too sweet and quite ordinary. Not this cava. The Roger Goulart Coral Rosé Cava possesses a fine bubble with fresh persistent flavours of strawberries and cream. The Grenache and Pinot Noir blend has brut level sweetness (8g/l), yet presents dry due to the lovely acidity.
It spends nine months on the lees which creates less toastiness and more fruitiness. Think brunch, aperitif, fall weddings, popcorn.

Mt Boucherie’s 2017 Merlot
Mt Boucherie’s 2017 Merlot

Mt Boucherie’s 2017 Merlot will keep your guests happy. It’s an ideal wine for fall, with its gentle tannins and sumptuous mouth feel.

The fruit is from sites in Okanagan Falls, South Cawston and Osoyoos. It offers lots of dark fruit Merlot character—black cherry and chocolate, with plummy spice notes, medium acidity and a fairly long finish.

Pagos de Galir Godello
Pagos de Galir Godello

If you love Chenin Blanc, or Gruner or Verdejo, Godello needs to be in your refrigerator. Dry, with citrus and floral aromas, a hit of salinity and a minerally backbone. Bonus—the pleasingly dense texture and long finish. Godello, a white grape native to Galicia in northwest Spain, is being brought back from obscurity by a few growers and winemakers. The Pagos de Galir Godello is a relatively new-to-the-market bottling, ideal with vegetables like squash or pumpkin and fried bits.

Harry pouring at Time Winery, Kelowna
Harry pouring at Time Winery, Kelowna

Harry McWatters died in his Summerland home on July 23. He was 74. Harry was an indefatigable supporter of BC wine since 1968. He founded Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in 1980, where he released Canada’s first traditional method sparkling wine, and See Ya Later Ranch Estate in 1994. After selling both to Vincor in 2000, he stayed on as president of the wineries and VP of Vincor, then launched Vintage Consulting in 2008, which led to Time, Evolve Cellars and the McWatters Collection.

Harry moved things forward. As founding chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute, which led to the creation of VQA Canada, he was instrumental in creating change that allowed BC estate wineries to grow and prosper.

Harry celebrated his 50th vintage in 2017. He was a true advocate for BC wine. He was a great guy to be around—always ready with a quip, a quote, or a laugh. Condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues.

Event Calendar

Thu, Sep 5
YEG Women in Wine Cash Mob, Rice Howard Way

Wed, Sep 11
Little Engine Winery Dinner Rge Rd, 780-447-4577

Thu, Sep 12
Brewski/Pohjala Tasting, Sherbrooke Liquor, 780-455-4556

Fri, Sep 13 & Sat, Sep 14
Banff Whisky Experience,

Fri, Sep 13
Mac and Cheese and Sausages Pop-up Lunch, Kitchen by Brad, 780-757-7704

Fri, Sep 13
Little Engine Winery with Steven French, The Butternut Tree, 780-760-2271

Sat, Sep 14
By the Light of the Harvest Moon Dinner, Castor Community Hall, 403-882-3935 or Eventbrite

Sat, Sep 14
Bitchin’ Belgians Tasting, Sherbrooke Liquor, 780-455-4556

Tue, Sep 17
Tequilas 101 Metro Continuing Education Tasting, Aligra Wine & Spirits,

Wed, Sep 18
Monkey Business Dinner with Umamu Winery, Glass Monkey, 780-760-2228

Wed, Sep 18
Chef’s Pop-up, Filistix, 780-716-4708

Thu, Sep 19
Kitchen by Brad Old Red Barn Dinner Old Red Barn in Leduc County,

Fri, Sep 20; Sat, Sep 21
The Mashing: Spirits Cider and Beer Festival, Remax Field,

Sat, Sep 21
Tracy’s Brunch, Kitchen by Brad, 780-757-7704

Sat, Sep 21, Oct 19
Undercover Wine, Sherbrooke Liquor, 780-455-4556

Mon, Sep 23
Fall Wine 101 Class, Aligra Wine & Spirits

Tue, Sep 24
Finca Decero Winery Dinner with Stephanie Morton-Small, Rge Rd, Eventbrite

Wed, Sep 25
Market Steak & Lobster Night, Freson Bros Fort Saskatchewan and Stony Plain

Sat, Sep 28
Luigi Bosca Dinner with Alberto Arizu, Nineteen St. Albert, 780-569-1819

Thu, Oct 3
Belgian Beer Dinner for Joey Moss Literacy Centre, Harts Table & Bar 780-488-4278

Fri, Oct 11
That’s Life Sake Tasting, Sherbrooke Liquor, 780-455-4556

Tue, Oct 15
Yalumba Dinner with Jane Ferrari, Ernest’s at NAIT, Eventbrite

Thu, Oct 17
Pop the Cork Metro Continuing Education Tasting, Aligra Wine & Spirits,

Fri, Oct 18-Sat, Oct 26
Alberta Beer Week Tap Takeover, Sherbrooke Liquor, Eventbrite

Sat, Oct 19
Oktoberfest Fundraiser for the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society Woodvale Hall,