September 17, 2019
If you’ve ever seen the wine flick Sideways, you’ll know there are two wines that are pitted against each other; Pinot Noir and Merlot. Pinot Noir, or just ‘pinot’ is the golden child of protagonist Miles’ eye, while Merlot is the recipient of a string of profanities.
But for Jeff Hundertmark, head winemaker at Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery in B.C., these two grapes are his favourites, both to work with and to drink.
“Pinot Noir is a winemaker’s grape; you can really put your mark on it. There are so many styles and types that I love,” says Hundertmark. “I’m also terrified of Pinot Noir. If you don’t make a right decision on it, it can go really bad. Pinot Noir is called the heartbreak grape; it’s almost like it’s made to fail if you do too much to it. I really love the challenge of it.”
Hundertmark’s other fave is Merlot. And his Mt Boucherie Pinot Noir, Merlot and Pinot Gris wines are all available at Calgary-are Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
The winery has access to some pretty unique and special grapes. With land across B.C’s Okanagan and Similkameen wine regions, Hundertmark says he has the luxury of picking and choosing his fruit.
“We are very focused on maintaining the integrity of the grape, rather than creating a ‘Frankenstein’ of a wine. We don’t do a whole lot of intervention with the wine; we try to keep it true to its actual flavour,” he explains. “We don’t use a lot of new oak, we prefer neutral oak; that lets the wine taste like the grape, rather than like the wood. We’re proud of the fact that that’s our vision and that’s where we’re succeeding.”
The winery is named for, of all things, an ancient volcano. Mount Boucherie is a mountain in West Kelowna that’s actually the remnant of a former stratovolcano created nearly 60 million years ago. Over the eons, the mountain volcano grew, then was eroded when North America was covered by glaciers. The soils which were created by this scouring glacial activity are those on which Mt Boucherie grows its grapes today.
In more recent history, there was grape growing happening on the Boucherie lands back into the 1960s. When the original owners moved on, the land was purchased and in 2018 Hundertmark was named head winemaker. Today the winery boasts over 200 acres.
“Our philosophy is that we really care about the vineyards where the grapes are grown,” says Hundertmark enthusiastically. “We have the best of all worlds here in B.C. and we have vineyards all across the valleys which lets us make really interesting wines. We’re not bound buying grapes from other growers; we know our vineyards and we can be more hands-on.”
After living in Alberta for a time, Hundertmark says he’s come to understand Alberta consumers and our unique tastes and interests, saying, “I feel like Alberta has a very sophisticated palate when it comes to wine and matching food. Alberta really loves big reds. At Mt Boucherie, we like to make a wine that tastes great but that’s also a good value, and I think our Alberta customer really appreciates that.”
Find My Boucherie Pinot Noir, Merlot and Pinot Gris at Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
Mt. Boucherie Pinot Gris
Our Pinot Gris is fermented dry, it features a rich and full bodied palate with spice and stone fruit notes, off set by bright citrus infused acidity. Pair the weight and freshness of this wine with various charcuterie or roasted white meats.
Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir
Our 2017 Pinot Noir was farmed at Lazy River Vineyard in South Cawston, Similkameen Valley. This dramatic, rugged river valley brings out distinct earthy, mineral characteristics that we absolutely love. This medium bodied wine showcases characteristics of tobacco, allspice, black cherry, & earthy notes. Lighter meats, mushroom dishes, or Pacific Salmon are the ideal match.
Mt. Boucherie Merlot
Our 2017 Merlot was farmed at separate sites in South Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. The fruit from our Lost Horn Vineyard in Okanagan Falls provides freshness and mineral notes. While Lazy River Vineyard in South Cawston and Summer Breeze Vineyard in Osoyoos showcase rounder dark fruit character.
A full bodied wine showing soft tannins and rich mouthfeel. Aromas and flavours of plum, black cherry, chocolate and spice notes. Fresh acidity frames the lengthy finish. Look for richer red meat dishes or earthy ingredients to pair with this wine.
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