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Sneak Peek: Meet Cornucopia’s Gold Medal Winning White Wine

It’s a pleasant surprise from a Canadian winemaking legend.

2017 Time Riesling $25

 

Harry McWatters didn’t become one of the legends of the Okanagan wine scene by not knowing what people want—often before they knew it themselves. In the late 1970s a golf course seemed to be a sure bet in the region, so McWatters purchased the Sumac Ridge course near Summerland…and turned it into a winery. Since that time he has grown and sold more than a few ventures (Sumac to Vincor, Black Sage Vineyard to Vincor and more recently his Sundial Vineyard to a Richmond businessman).

But the last few years has seen him building a whole new empire. His Encore Vineyards encompass three separate wineries: the very traditional McWatters Collection; the affordable Evolve Cellars and the just-right Time. My guess is that all three labels were trucking along quite nicely, selling well and attracting fans, but McWatters seems to relish a challenge, so this year has seen some big moves. First off, he hired the well-regarded Graham Pierce, who had spent the past seven years making beloved wines Black Hills as his director of wine. Then he promoted Nadine Allander to be the winemaker at Time. And finally, he’s just putting the finishing touches on transforming Penticton’s old Penmar Theatre into Time’s new state-of-the-art winery, bistro and wine shop (it’s open now but will have a grand opening after harvest).

So the news that Time’s 2017 Riesling has just awarded the best white at Cornucopia’s must feel like a well deserved cherry on the top of this very expensive sundae. The wine is the most focussed effort to date by the winery: tart, with zips of lemon and lime rind, and a very restrained dose of sweetness to preserve the balance. It’s the perfect choice for a food and wine festival because it’s amazingly versatile to pair with a wide variety of dishes. So for the poor souls not heading up to Whistler, snag a bottle as consolation and toast a Canadian wine legend.

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