An over-sized black SUV limo occupies the driveway; it looks like an armored vehicle, ready to take us on our journey, one full of promise, where East will meet West at the Jackson-Triggs Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. www.jacksontriggswinery.com
“Must be carrying some precious cargo we joke”, as we step up into the limo. Yes, there seated are a dozen or so wine critics, writers, sommeliers, and personalities! notables such as Tony Aspler, wine critic and author, the iconic, stunning Sara Waxman, Founder and Editor of DINE Magazine, Adam Waxman, handsome and devilish son of Sara, actor and contributing writer for DINE, wine author Konrad Ejbich and the dashing Paxton Allewell of the iYellow wine club, just to name a few.
We are here this evening to enjoy an event that Jackson-Triggs hosts several times through out the summer called “Savour the Sights”. http://cms.jacksontriggswinery.com/SearchObjects.aspx?sys-Portal=1&sys-Class=Event+Date&
Del Rollo, National Director of Hospitality is excited to share the inaugural format this evening, which he describes to us as “East Meets West”, not only in wine but also, cuisine.
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan winemakers Brooke Blair and Derek Kontkanen have flown in for the occasion to showcase their wines along with those of Niagara winemaker Marco Piccoli. We are also joined by Great Estates of the Okanagan Executive Chef Roger Planiden, who packed a variety of food “contraband” in his suitcase, as well as newly appointed Chef David Penny of Niagara. How will the foods and wines differ from east to west? With the Okanagan boasting the only desert in Canada, and with many more sun hours will they overpower the wines of our marginal climate here in Niagara-on-the-Lake?
We disembark and are graciously handed a perfectly chilled glass of JT sparkling wine Methode Classique, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Delightful, delicious and a perfect pairing to a variety of hors d’oeuvres being passed around as the crowd mingles.
Caption: Del Rollo welcomes the guests against the back -drop of Jackson-Triggs vineyards
One of the greatest hits! is the truffle oil sprinkled popcorn we all savour with our bubbly; the contrast of the richness of the truffle and the crisp acidity of the sparking wine gets top marks from all.
Caption: Truffle popcorn hits culinary heights with JT’s Methode Classique
Two long tables are set for the fortyish of us in the sleek, modern and inviting Jackson Triggs building, in front of row upon row of vines. Behind is the lively kitchen where a trio of chefs is performing the magic. Let the competition begin!
Caption: Guests anticipate the first course in the Tasting Gallery
The first course is paired with a Riesling duo. 2007 Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Riesling and 2006 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Delaine Vineyard.
Terroir speaks loudly here, as the Okanagan is more profound in fruit, but Niagara’s Riesling is reminiscent of petrol!a good thing, and a light dose of minerality! This “Tasting Gallery” continues with a second course pitting the 2008 Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc with the 2007 Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Proprietors’ Grand Reserve White Meritage. Individual palates prevail as our group takes ownership of their favorite. More Bordeaux in style, the Meritage seems to attract the larger number, particularly with a little time in the glass.
Caption: Jackson-Triggs winemaker Derek Kontkanen explains the splendour of his Okanagan Sauvignon Blanc
The Barrel Cellar, is our next stop, as we descend a flight of stairs! mind the stilettos, to the aroma of romance and of tradition, and are seated amongst row upon row of oak barrels at several well-dressed tables. The following two courses are delicious, paired with two Chardonnays, a Shiraz from the Okanagan and a Delaine Vineyard Syrah. We love the Syrah, with plum, cassis and white pepper, supported by firm yet soft tannins. Both wines are winners though, having won multiple awards both at home and internationally.
2006 Delaine Vineyard Syrah $29.95
Recent Awards: Gold at Challenge Int’l du Vin in Bordeaux
Gold, Best of Category at All Canadian Wine Championships, Windsor
2006 Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Grand Reserve Shiraz $25.99
Recent Awards: Silver, Best in Class at Int’l Wine & Spirit Comp in London
Double Gold, Best of Nation at San Francisco Int’l Wine Comp
Allan Jackson addresses the group and speaks of the importance of building a great team; “it starts in the vineyard” he says “from the vineyard to the winemaker to the cellar, the marketing and sales team and even finance”, “everyone has to be on board to build a sustainable winery”. Jackson-Triggs has received “Best Canadian Winery” accolades an unprecedented 20 times in global competitions. Using the analogy of a golfer, Mr. Jackson goes on to say “a 30 handicap golfer can get a hole in one, likewise a 30 handicap winery can get a gold medal, but can they do it 3 years out of 5, with consistency?”
Mr. Jackson exudes passion, commitment, and a true sincerity. We like him.
Our East Meets West Savour the Sights concludes at the Estate Lounge, back upstairs, two flights this time. We overlook the vineyards as we savour a variety of icewines paired with delectable desserts. A perfect long satisfying finish to an evening that started with a fine mousse dancing on our palates and concluded with a delectable sweet sensation, fine Riesling icewines and a Cabernet Franc.
We’d like to add congratulations to Allan Jackson on the arrival of his first grandson this month, as well as congratulations on your Jackson-Triggs retirement and best wishes on your future adventures in wine.
So long Mr. Jackson, until we toast again!
Pic of Susanne in the fermenting cellar with Del Rollo and Konrad, put here
Caption: Susanne enjoying the tour of the JT winery