Photo: Winemaker Lawrence Buhler
Harry McWatters appears to have landed a heavyweight
winemaker for the collection of Okanagan wineries and labels under Encore
Encore is the holding company run by Harry (and several partners).
It is the parent to McWatters Collection, Time Estate Winery and Evolve
On August 1, Ontario
winemaker Lawrence Buhler becomes Encore’s director of winemaking.
Encore’s announcement says that Lawrence (who has extended
family in the Okanagan) has been involved in the wine industry since 1999. He
is a graduate of Brock
’s Cool Climate
Oenological and Viticultural Institute. He has “more than 10 years of winemaking experience,” the
announcement says. “In the past, he has worked with Peller Estates and Angels
Gate in Ontario
, as well as with Cape Mentelle
Most recently, he spent several years as the head winemaker
at Colio Estate Winery at Harrow (near Windsor).
Since making its first vintage in 1980, Colio has grown into one of Ontario’s largest
wineries, producing about 500,000 cases a year. That includes 25 VQA wines,
so-called “value” wines, bag in box wines and even flavoured wines.
is unlikely to have to juggle as many products in the Okanagan. Evolve owns and operates the 60-acre Sundial Vineyard on
the Black Sage Bench in Oliver. A 25,000 sq. ft.
state-of-the-art custom wine production facility and winery is
currently being constructed at the Sundial location. The Time and the
McWatters Collection wines will be produced there.
Cellars opened in mid-May in the property that previously had been the
now-closed Bonitas Winery, just north of Summerland. The wines currently
available at Evolve were produced by Time.
now, the wines for the McWatters Collection and Time have been produced for
Harry by winemaking consultants, including Brad Cooper and J-M Bouchard.
takes over a portfolio of wines
made from one of most mature vineyards on the Black Sage Bench. Sundial is part
of 115-acre Black Sage Vineyard which was planted in 1993, largely to Bordeaux
ownership of the vineyard was divided several years ago, Constellation Brands
got half the vineyard and the Black Sage Vineyard name. Harry’s half was
the current portfolio.
Time Chardonnay 2013
Sundial Vineyard ($27.99). Alcohol 13.9%. The wine begins with a lovely
golden hue and aromas of orange marmalade mingled with butter and hazelnuts. On
the palate, the wine is rich, with flavours of baked apple and citrus, touched
with butterscotch and vanilla. This has the structure to develop further
complexity with a few more years of cellaring. 91.
Time Sundial 2013 ($19.99).
This is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It begins with
aromas of melons, apples and herbal spice, leading to flavours of pears and
apples. The wine has good weight, with a refreshing and lingering finish. 89.
Time Meritage 2012
This is 60% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc, with all the
grapes from the Sundial Vineyard. The wine has aromas of black cherry with a
hint of cassis and oak. The wine has a generous texture, with spicy flavours of
black currants and notes of sage, classic for the terroir of the South Okanagan
. The tannins are long. The wine is
drinking well now if one decants it, but it has the structure to age. The
winery says the wine could be aged until 2022. 90.
Time Syrah 2012 ($35).
Dark in colour, this is a classic Okanagan Syrah with aromas of black cherry
mingled with pepper and rare steak. It follows through on the palate with bold
flavours of dark fruit, delicatessen spices and pepper. 91.
Chardonnay 2013 ($30 for 490 cases). Alcohol 14.2%. This is an elegant
wine, beginning with aromas of citrus and peach. On the palate, the marmalade
flavours mingle with delicate butterscotch. The weight is rich and the finish
just goes on and on. 92.
Meritage 2012 ($25). This is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot 20% and
Cabernet Franc 12%. The wine, which was aged 15 months in French oak, has
aromas of black currant, black cherry and vanilla. These are repeated on the
palate, along some chocolate on the finish. The long ripe tannins still are
firm enough to support cellaring the wine. It was delicious on opening but
blossomed with sweet berry flavours when left overnight. 91.