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Sunday, September 29, 2013
All day in Niagara, with Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, and Le Clos Jordanne, Sept 19/13
The Date and Time: Thursday, September 19, 2013
The Event: an all-day FAM trip to the Great Estates of Niagara Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, and Le Clos Jordanne.
The Venue: NiagaraPeninsula
The Target Audience: selected wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through the LCBO or, in some cases, through the winery and/or Wine Rack.
The Quote/Background: We were picked up by limo and went to a gathering point for a bus trip to Niagara. There were about 16 media, plus personnel from Narrative PR and the wineries. First stop was Montague Vineyard (Inniskillin) for a chardonnay tasting with winemaker Bruce Nicholson andGerald Klose (director of Ontario viticulture for Constellation). There was a discussion on the current grapes and harvest, and a wine refractometer display to check out the Brix levels in the grapes. Did you know that the refractometer was made in the UK? One of the few remaining items NOT made in China Then, on to a look at pinot gris vineyards at the site before boarding the bus for the Brae Burn Vineyard (onsite at Inniskillin). Here we had a viognier grape and wine tasting in the field with Bruce and Gerald, followed by an oyster sampling with Estate Chef David Penny. We then walked to the scale house at Inniskillin and met with Errol, a third-party government inspector who tested Brix levels and reconciled volume with sugars, to meet VQA standards. Our group sample came in at 20 brix. At this time, we saw a $700 probe that hauled up liquid grape samples for government inspections right after harvesting. In the Inniskillin Barrel Cellar we continued with a structured tasting of pinot gris and icewine with Bruce Nicholson. After that, we left for Delaine Vineyard where we had another grape and wine tasting, this time of Fume Blanc and Syrah with JT winemaker Marco Piccoli and Gerald Klose. The Syrah was vibrant. Then we arrived at the Jackson-Triggs Winery for lunch at the amphitheatre stage (see below). We then boarded the bus to Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard and had an outdoor pinot noir grape and wine tasting (picnic tables) with its winemaker, Sebastien Jacquery who explained the philosophy and the grapes and the wines. Then, sadly, it was back to Toronto by bus.
The Wines: We also had samples of Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012 ($99.95 half) and Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012 ($120 half), both fine wines. 24 wines in all --
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Gewurztraminer 2012, $19.95
-Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012, $19.95
-Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz 2012, $24.95
-Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Red Meritage 2012, $24.95
-Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Merlot 2012, $24.95
-Delaine by Jackson-Triggs Fume Blanc 2012, $24.95
The Food: we had Malpeque oysters at Inniskillin, along with an Upper Canada cheese and charcuterie sampling, followed by a lunch on the Jackson-Triggs amphitheatre stage. It was a casual rustic community luncheon with platters of estate cured and smoked ham, cold poached prawns, fresh tomatoes, estate ricotta, estate pickles, pate and terrine all orchestrated by Estate Chef Tim Mackiddie. Just what we needed with the heat! The six JT Grand Reserves were discussed and served ad hoc, as we wanted, with the food...I had mine separately for tasting.
The Downside: I had to get up really early and go without coffee for awhile.
The Upside: we also had a selection of beers on the bus, from Oast House in Niagara, which included their Farmhouse Ales collection such as Saison, and earthy beer emphasizing banana and black pepper flavours.