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Exciting times for B.C.’s TIME family of wines

By Rick VanSickle

TIME is flying in the wake of being purchased by Ron and Shelley Mayert.

The new owners have quickly revamped the branding of Evolve Cellars, TIME Wines and the McWatters Collection and recently welcomed a fourth member to the family, Chronos wines.

While the main winery, located in downtown Penticton, houses all the brands under one roof in the historic and revitalized movie theatre, TIME now has a new satellite location in Oliver called the District Wine Village. It joins 13 other B.C. wineries, a brewery, multi-purpose amphitheater with 610 person capacity and on-site vineyard. Guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor seating where they can taste wines from the extensive portfolio or sign up for tutored tastings on the patio or barrel room.

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It’s been a busy fall for winemaker Lynzee Schatz, very top photo, and her cellar team, who now have a new vineyard to help feed the growing family of wines. The new owners purchased a 10-acre vineyard in Osoyoos, planted to Merlot, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Syrah and take full control of the vineyard in 2022.

Wines In Niagara recently tasted a selection of new Chronos, Evolve and McWatters wines as well as some of the new bubbles from the various brands.

The sparkling wine lineup is led by the McWatters Collection Brut, a wine started by founder Harry McWatters (above), who adored bubbles and as he was celebrating his 50th vintage in B.C. he was working on his last project before he sadly passed away. His traditional method sparkling is the inaugural bubbly for his legacy brand.

Here’s what we liked from the wines tasted:

The new bubbles:

McWatters Collection Brut 2017 ($65, 93 points) — This traditionally made blend of 65% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Blanc is a tribute to founder Harry McWatters and a celebration of his 50th vintage in the wine industry. It was aged for 42 months en tirage before disgorgement. It has a nose of creamy pear, toasty brioche, apple, lemon tart and biscuit with a lively bead in the glass. It’s fresh and lively on the palate with bright citrus notes, green apples, a lovely creamy texture, vitality, leesy/bready notes and an energetic finish aided by an elegant, persistent bead of tiny bubbles. A great tribute to an Okanagan pioneer.

Chronos Brut ($35, 90 points) — This is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. The varietals were fermented separately with some lees stirring on the Chardonnay. It was blended for complexity and finished in the cuvée close method. It shows a fine bead in the glass with more upfront fruity notes of citrus, apple, pear and subtle toasty notes. It has a lively mousse and notes of fresh citrus, peach and apple with a vibrant finish.

TIME Brut 2018 ($35, 92 points) — This Pinot/Chard sparkler, made in the cuvée clos method, was fermented in neutral French oak barrels, stainless steel barrels and stainless steel tanks. There was some lees stirring in the barrels. It shows an energetic bead in the glass with an attractive nose of peach, apple tart, piecrust, lemon zest and toasty notes. It’s lively and fresh on the palate with notes of fuzzy peach, lemon zest, pear, bready/lees notes, a creamy texture and a long, fresh finish.

Evolve Pink Effervescence ($22, 89 points) — The blend on this cuvée clos method sparkling is 70% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Blanc and 2% Syrah. It was finished with a dash of Syrah to give it a light pink colour. Quite joyous and fruity on the nose with notes of raspberries, cherries and zesty lemon. With just a hint of sweetness on the palate, the ripe red berries are lifted and finessed from the juicy acidity and citrus zest on the finish.

Evolve Effervescence ($22, 88 points) — This bubbly is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Blanc and made in the cuvée clos method. The components were fermented separately with some lees stirring on the Pinot Blanc. It has a lively bead in the glass with notes of peach, melon, apples and a saline quality. On the palate look for ripe orchard fruits, elegant bubbles and just enough citrus to keep this lively through the finish.

New Chronos wines

Chronos Riesling 2020 ($28, 88 points) — The Riesling grapes from The View vineyards in East Kelowna were hand sorted and whole bunch pressed. They were fermented in two different tanks at different temperatures with different yeast strains for complexity. One wine was fermented dry while the other wines’ fermentation was stopped leaving some residual sugar, which was then blended to balance the sweetness and acidity. It has a nose of pronounced lime and grapefruit with a bit of peach and apple fruits. There’s a mineral edge on the palate to go with juicy citrus fruits, apple, and ripe peach in a subtly off-dry style with a zingy, fresh finish.

Chronos Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($28, 91 points) — This Sauvignon Blanc, sourced from the Okanagan Falls vineyard, has a highly aromatic nose of grapefruit, herbs, green pear, passion fruit and wet hay. It’s round and ripe on the palate with full on tropical fruits, citrus, herbaceous notes and a juicy, lifted finish.

Chronos Sémillon 2020 ($30, 90 points) — This The 100% Sémillon was 54% stainless steel fermented while the remaining 46% underwent fermentation in neutral French oak barrels (20% which was new French oak). The barrel portion went through full malolactic conversion while the stainless portion did not. It was bottled un-fined. It has a spicy nose of ripe apricots, nectarines, peach, Meyer lemon and subtle beeswax notes. It’s rich and fleshy on the palate with bold apricots, peach, lemon tart, spice and honey notes through a soft, juicy finish.

Chronos Chardonnay 2020 ($30, 90 points) — The Chardonnay was stainless steel tank fermented and did not undergo malolactic conversion, but underwent weekly lees stirring for three weeks post fermentation. It’s a lighter-bodied, un-oaked style with a nose of pear, apples, lemon blossom and fresh saline notes. It’s pure and delicious on the palate with a basket of Okanagan summer fruits and balanced nicely by zesty lemon-citrus notes on a clean, crisp finish.

Evolve Momento

Evolve Cellars Momento 2018 ($24, 89 points) — This is a blend of 47% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot and 7% Syrah. Each wine was aged separately in American and French oak for 14 months before being blended. It has a bold and meaty nose of smoky dark berries, ripe cherries, toasted vanilla bean and sweet spice notes. It’s rich and savoury on the palate with anise, black currants, kirsch, thyme, meaty notes, caramel and spices with plenty of zip on the finish to keep it lively. Can cellar 5+ years but drinking pretty well right now.

McWatters Chardonnay

McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2020 ($35, 91 points) — The grapes were hand sorted then whole bunch pressed from two different vineyards in Osoyoos. It was 100% barrel fermented in 20% new French oak barrels with lees stirring post fermentation and full malolactic conversion. This full-bodied Chardonnay shows ripe pear, baked apple, elegant oak spice notes, caramel/pralines and lemon tart on the nose. It’s a comforting Chard on the palate with ripe orchard fruits, fine oak spices and a touch of flinty minerality on a fairly finessed finish. Lobster anyone?