article by Carole Beaton
Learning by drinking BC wine.
If you have visited Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery in the past, you will need to visit again! The estate was sold, in 2016, to the same ownership as Rust Winery, and there is a definite energy and pride bursting from the new winery building that opened in the spring of 2020. Housing the wine shop, tasting patio, meeting rooms for events, and the enjoyable new restaurant, The Modest Butcher, the building takes advantage of its West Kelowna setting with fabulous views of the lake below.
The entrance from the large parking lot takes you to a foyer with restaurant straight ahead and the wine shop/tasting patio down a flight of stairs or via elevator. We confirmed our reservation and were seated on the lawn in front of the tasting room to enjoy those views, but if you visit during the summer, bring sunscreen! There were no umbrellas erected that July day and it got hot!
There are two tastings offered to visitors: the Introductory ($6.00) and the Reserve ($10.00), with the fees waived with the purchase of a bottle. Each tasting allowed the choice of four wines. Because I went with a friend, we were able to sample from both lists.
We were greeted with a sample of the 2019 rosé, a blend of West Kelowna grapes, Zweigelt and Pinot Noir, which we happily sipped while making our choices. There are actually four different labels at the winery. The White Label indicates their most approachable price point; the Original Vines, wines from vines planted prior to 2000; the Reserve wines, featuring aged and specialized grapes; and the Modest label, which pair with the restaurant’s offerings and shows a bit of experimentation on the winemaker’s part.
My official first taste was the Original Vines Sémillon. This is actually a blend of grapes from different vineyards, and 60% was from a ferment in stainless steel, with the rest going through a wild ferment in new French oak barriques. This was a new term to me, but is simply the most common type of wine barrel and holds 225 litres/59 gallons. It means that there is a subtle oak on the wine, which also had a very light citrus flavour and would make a lovely patio sipper.
The 2019 Black Swoosh Chardonnay is done in a Chablis style, which means that there is no oak as it is aged in stainless steel. There is a light butter taste to the wine so is a good way to introduce people to this grape.
The Elder Vicar (pronounced vih-carr) is one of the fun blends from the Small Collection which is available only at the winery. Known as the “Noble Blend “ in Europe, the winery’s offering is also a reference to Father Pandosy, a French missionary who arrived in 1859 and planted the first vines in the region so there would be wine for sacramental uses. Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewürztraminer, this is a floral wine and the tasting notes state that Chef Dan Carkner “suggests roast white meats, rich seafood, spice driven cuisine, or a hearty Charcuterie”. I liked this one as it offered light spice to my tastebuds.
Before moving to the reds, we tasted the Last Hurrah Rosé from the Modest lineup. This Syrah rosé is from a block of vines in the South Cawston vineyard. Planted in 1999, the old vines have been ripped out and are being replanted but winemaker Jeff Hundertmark decided to try one last wine from the grapes. Small Collection, again only at the winery, it tasted of berries, and spice and is a bigger, heavier rosé than others I have tried. Should be good if paired with food as it is another of the wines for the restaurant.
The Original Vines PTG, gave me another new term! PTG is the abbreviation for “passé tout grain” or “throw all the grapes in”. This wine had a blend of 48% Pinot Noir, 40% Gamay, and 12% Pinot Gris and I found it to be a dry light red wine with a hint of oak and is a tasty step from whites to reds.
The 2017 Merlot is a good wine. If you check the tasting notes, they indicate the reviews and awards, and state this wine has won a gold medal and received 89-92 points. Although it is 100% Merlot, it does blend grapes from Okanagan Falls, the Similkameen and West Osoyoos, and the different grapes add various levels of acid, tannins, and more fruit flavour because of where they are grown. The wine had a lovely nose and when you can move past that to the taste – excellent. Apparently it is a classic Merlot but I just thought it was delicious.
The last wine in our tasting was the 2017 Malbec. The tasting notes told us that it spent three months in oak, with 30% of that new, and it has “subtle hints of children’s laughter”. Yes, it is a feel-happy wine, with flavours of black fruit and spice.
I actually tried one more wine as we had lunch at the Modest Butcher. Their motto is “eating and drinking with reckless abandon since 2020”. The restaurant is named after Isadore Boucherie, an early settler who was a rancher and a butcher. The story is that after a drinking bout with his friend, Father Pandosy, Boucherie boasted, “I am the greatest wine drinker in the valley!” Pandosy apparently retorted, “Well, aren’t you the modest butcher” and supposedly the nickname stuck. I chose to inadvertently honour the restaurant’s namesake and ordered the steak cut of the day and decided to have a glass of the Little Green Red. Just … wow. It is 100% Petit Verdot and is aromatic, spicy, and paired delightfully with the steak. Again, you will only find this at the winery.
Go and visit Mt. Boucherie. Both the winery and restaurant staff are informed, helpful and masked. They were willing to answer any questions, and waited patiently when I said, “Oh, wait. I think I better also get a bottle of ….” Good work, team!
- Carole Beaton
Learning by drinking BC wine.