Column: What’s New in the Wine World

It’s time for a mixed bag of topics. First a couple of tasty international wines available in local stores. From the beautiful Adelaide Hills in South Australia, there’s the Wolf Blass Gold Label 2015 Chardonnay ($24.99).

Normally I prefer Chards that are only two year’s old and this one is over four. But the Wolf Blass still has a good amount of acid to keep it lively with a fresh fruit character. Luscious in the mouth and complex with scents of melon, peaches and vanilla plus a lingering finish.

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Wonderful to sip on its own but would pair well with Cobb Salad, Dungeness Crab & Drawn Butter, or Roast Chicken.

From Spain, uncork a 2014 Muga Reserva Rioja ($30.99). It’s a delicious blend of four Spanish grapes: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano.

To be labelled reserva, a red Rioja must be aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels and bottles, with a minimum time of one year in oak.

The Muga displays a ruby hue and reveals currants, leather, espresso, and smoked earth aromas and flavours.Full bodied, voluptuous and smooth with ripe flavours of fruit and vanilla. Decant it for a few hours and enjoy with lamb.

Halloween is now over but if you want some free treats, Brighouse and Ironwood BC Liquor Stores will be having free wine tastings on Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. No tricks, please.

Cornucopia is underway at Whistler and runs until Nov. 17. Of the wines that are being poured, the Top Bubble is Okanagan Crush Pad 2013 Haywire Bub ($44.90).Their website describes it as “Toasted hazelnut aromas with a creamy red apple palate and white grapefruit freshness to finish.”

The Top White is Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay 2018 ($19.99). “This lightly oaked wine has aromas of ripe yellow apples, pineapple and lemon curd. Medium bodied with flavours of fresh peaches, apricot and granny smith apples leads to a light toasty finish. Pair with roasted chicken or pasta alfredo.”

And Cornucopia’s Top Red is Tenuta Di Fessina Etna Rosso DOC Erse 2015 ($26)

Among Cornucopia’s Top 20 Wines is the Barossa Valley Estate GSM 2016 ($21.99 Ironwood & Brighouse). “Delicate violet, subtle herbal notes, a fresh burst of raspberry on a rich centre of juicy plum. Ideal as an aperitif or perfectly matched with steak, charcuterie, duck, mushroom, truffle, Asian and Italian flavours, and goat’s cheese.”

C.C. Jentsch Cellars 2016 Syrah ($37.98 at Everything Wine) is also in Cornucopia’s Top 20. “Juicy, with aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, toffee, smoked sandal wood and the sweet spiciness of clove, vanilla, pine wood, sage, black licorice and eucalyptus, This Syrah, having been barrel aged for 16 months overwhelms with its rich flavours on both the palate and nose, has great balance, velvety tannins and a long finish.”

Finally, Harry McWatters who passed away in July has had the Founder’s Award at the Okanagan Wine Festival renamed The Harry McWatters’ Founder’s Award in his honour.

Affectionately known as the 'Grandfather of BC Wine' he was the founding president of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, first chair of the BC Wine Institute and an internationally renowned and acclaimed judge and expert. He was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2003 for his services to the wine industry.

The award was presented by Christine Coletta at this October’s Wine Festival and received by Harry's adult children Christa-Lee and Darrien McWatters, and his wife, Lisa Lalonde. Christa-Lee McWatters, is now the president & CEO of Encore Vineyards.

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