Fill 'er Up

Heidi Noble is the owner and winemaker at JoieFarm Winery in Naramata that crafts eminently coiffable wines.

First of all, let’s get into the coiffable vs. quaffable debate.

I’ve certainly used the word quaffable in this column before.

It’s the perfect term to describe an easy-drinking and delicious wine.

But then, on the back label of wines from JoieFarm in Naramata I read the winery’s focus is “juicy, ripe and eminently coiffable wines.”

All of a sudden, my spelling world is flipped upside down.

Turns out, coiffable is the French spelling, quaffable the English.

It makes sense JoieFarm would prefer the French because the winery strives to produce European-style vintages and Joie itself is French for joy.

With that settled, we can talk about five JoieFarm bottles winemaker Heidi Noble is touting as not just coiffable, but ideal Thanksgiving wines.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal of roast turkey and all the trimmings is decidedly wine-friendly.

Most white, red and rose wines, and even sparkling, are a good pairing with a feast that involves delicate white meat, heartier dark meat, fatty gravy and buttery side dishes.

Perhaps the ultimate wine to pair with food is Riesling.

The acidity of the JoieFarm En Famille 2017 Riesling ($25) cuts through any fat and its off-dry aromas and flavours of lime, pineapple and ginger lifts white turkey meat to new heights.

Another aromatic white that will enhance your turkey experience is the 2018 A Noble Blend ($23).

This blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc and Muscat will open your palate with its lime-guava-and-spice profile.

The 2016 En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminer ($25) is classic of the varietal with aromas and flavours of orange, lychee and rose petals.

If it has to be red, the En Famille 2017 Pinot Noir ($35) is light enough to pair with white turkey meat, but robust enough to match with dark turkey meat.

The Pinot’s core of raspberry flavour opens up to include violet, cedar and cocoa.

If you’re game for something totally different at the dinner table, JoieFarm has produced a skin-contact Gewurztraminer ($46 for two bottles) that’s pink in colour and packaged in a Champagne-style bottle with a crown cap that you’d usually find on a beer or pop bottle.

Letting the grape juice soak on the wine skins for nine days after crushing gives this unique wine its colour and enhanced flavours of apple, tea, ginger and even Turkish delight candy.

It’s sold as a duo because two versions are made from grapes from the Con Vita Vineyard on the Skaha Bluffs and This Is It Vineyard on the Naramata Bench and Joie would like you to taste them side-by-side.

The two skin-contact Gewurzt are part of JoieFarm’s new series of Chic Fille wines that experiment a little with single-vineyard grapes and natural winemaking.

Founders Award

The Founders Award was never bestowed on Harry McWatters because he was the man presenting the accolade annually at the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards that are part of the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival.

McWatters, hailed as the godfather of the Okanagan wine industry and owner of Penticton-based Time, McWatters Collection and Evolve wineries, passed away in July at the age of 74.

Without McWatters at the awards ceremony earlier this month, last year’s Founders Award winner Christine Colletta of Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad was called on to present the 2019 award.

She announced the honour is now known as the Harry McWatters Founders Award and the first recipient of the renamed award is McWatters.

McWatter’s daughter, Christa-Lee, who has also taken over the winery businesses, accepted the award on his behalf.

She was alternately humorous and tearful as she remembered her father as simply dad and as an industry titan.

She joked the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival started 39 years ago as Septoberfest, which her dad referred to as the longest month of the year with both delight and exhaustion.

McWatters is in good company as a founder.

Past winners include Canada’s longest-serving winemaker Howard Soon, formerly of Calona and Sandhill Wines and now with Vanessa Vineyards, Summerhill Pyramid Winery founder Stephen Cipes, wine journalist Jurgen Gothe and Sandra Oldfield, former co-owner and winemaker at Tinhorn Creek.

Evolve has moved

Speaking of McWatters’ wineries, Evolve Cellars has moved from its leased premises in Summerland to join Time and McWatters Collection wineries at the company’s headquarters at 361 Martin St. in Penticton.

Evolve is a project of Christa-Lee McWatters to offer fresh, approachable and affordable wines.

With her dad Harry McWatters now gone, Christa-Lee is the new CEO for all three wineries and it makes sense for all of them to be under one roof.

The building the trifecta of wineries is in is the refurbished Pen-Mar movie theatre, which is now home to tasting room, wine store and Time Kitchen restaurant, as well as production facilities.

Over the winter, a new Evolution Lounge will be created onsite where visitors can taste Evolve’s whites, reds, rose and sparkling wines.

Wine fest final weekend

Even though it’s the final weekend of the 11-day Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, there is still lots to eat, drink and see.

There may be some last-minute $69 tickets available for tonight’s Sensation at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

Sensation is the fest’s new signature finale event featuring wine paired with music, art and food.

Hillside Winery in Naramata has $45 Thanksgiving dinners on Sunday and Monday.

There’s a $140 Harvest Dinner at Painted Rock Winery in Penticton tonight.

Today you can drop by House of Rose Winery in Kelowna and stomp grapes at 1, 2, 3 or 4 p.m.

For a full calendar of remaining events check out TheWineFestivals.com.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a festival for you to drink wine.

Many winery tasting rooms and shops remain open throughout the fall, so you can continue tp tour and sip.

Steve MacNaull is a reporter with The Okanagan Weekend. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.

Also listen to Steve’s Okanagan Wine and Dine show

exclusively on OkanaganValleyRadio.com at 11:15 a.m. every Saturday. If you miss it then, episodes are always available in the podcast vault.

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