Do you know the meaning of the term “Meritage” for wines? It is a term developed by the California-based Meritage Alliance, that means a Bordeaux blend of grapes, without infringing on the term Bordeaux. Just like wineries around the world cannot say that their sparkling wine is Champagne. It is a term restricted to the region where that style of wine originated.
I have two Meritage wines to tell you about that come from the BC Okanagan. The first is the HMC McWatters Collection Meritage 2017 and the other is TIME Winery Fourth Dimension 2017. The latter is not exactly Meritage, but I will discuss that later.
Before providing my tasting notes, I wanted to mention that it is now a little over a year since Harry McWatters suddenly passed away. It was very sad for all of us in the wine trade. Harry was one of the pioneers in starting the BC wine industry. TIME Winery and the McWatters Collection was his latest endeavours and he had built a new winery in Penticton. Enjoy these wines knowing that Harry had a part in them.
My Tasting Notes
TIME Winery Fourth Dimension 2017 (BC $35) – 45% Merlot, 29% Syrah, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon make this blend. Why is it called Fourth Dimension? They mention that Einstein mentioned “time” is the fourth dimension. And this is TIME Winery. Also they use 4 different grape varieties in this blend. You see Syrah as one of the varieties, so you can’t call this wine a Meritage, as Syrah is a Rhone grape, but there is predominantly Bordeaux varieties that make up the blend. Adding Syrah to a Bordeaux blend is not unheard of. This used to be done in Bordeaux, illegally, to help make the blend better. They called it Hermitaging the wine, as the Syrah grapes came from the Hermitage region. Thanks to Le Vieux Pin for telling me about this practice from the past.
This wine has a deeper, dull garnet colour. It’s about 70% opaque with the same colour intensity from the rim to the core. It has a medium intensity nose, with a mix of red and black fruit, plums, black pepper, a light smoky edge and a touch of oak. With some swirling you get some raspberry and cedar aromas as well. With decanting, there is much more red fruit aromas along with oak. There is also some chocolate aroma added, while the cedar and black fruit aromas subside. This wine is dry with a lighter body. Not very round, but is soft. Very light, thin tannins. Mostly black fruit and plum, with raspberry and leather mid palate and hints of floral, oak and chocolate. The leather flavour fades quickly. With decanting I am pleased to see that the tannins increase in strength and give a bit more structure to the wine. The aromas stay the same, except for the leather that has now disappeared. This wine finishes with red and black fruit, and black pepper flavours. More acidity than tannins on the finish.
Rating: – with decanting. Mainly red fruit along with plum, a touch of oak and some smokiness on the nose. It is lighter bodied with a soft mouthfeel. Mainly black fruit and plum flavours, with hints of floral, oak and chocolate. Decanting gives the wine more tannic structure.
HMC McWatters Collection Meritage 2017 (BC $34.99) – a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc. This wine has a dull, deep garnet colour, about 80% opaque, but you can still see through the core. It has a light intensity nose showing red fruit, sweet spices, ripe red plums, candied cherries and a touch of vanilla. There is no change in aromas with decanting. It is very slightly off-dry, very soft and round, with a thicker mouthfeel. Sweet, ripe red fruit and sweet spices, along with raspberries, red cherries, blackberries, plums and touches of cedar and black pepper on the palate. Very light silky tannins and medium acidity. The fruit flavours are up front with the acidity and tannins supporting in the background. The fruit flavours remain unchanged with decanting, but you can add some violets. This wine has a medium plus length finishing with sweet ripe fruit, black pepper, hints of vanilla and cedar flavours, and soft fine tannins. Very nice.
I also like to note excellent corks, and the cork for this wine is spectacular. One solid piece. Quality.
Rating: This wine has a light intensity nose showing red fruits and sweet spices aromas. It’s very soft and round on the palate with sweet ripe red fruits, sweet spices and black pepper flavours. Silky tannins.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
You can purchase TIME Winery Fourth Dimension from the winery website. And the HMC McWatters Collection Meritage 2017 from the winery website. The McWatters Meritage is also available at Everything Wine. TIME Winery Fourth Dimension is available at Marquis Wine Cellars. Other private shops may carry these wines, but you need to ask.