Most of Canada’s wine comes from Ontario. With such consistent quality to choose from, how do we determine our next glass? We have to visit the winery, taste the wines, and more important, have a wonderful experience that we can recall as a frame of reference for that wine. At Jackson-Triggs Winery the aim is to take the intimidation out of wine, make it fun, memorable and educational.
Each season offers exciting and romantic experiences to share with friends at Jackson Triggs. Passport programs like Taste the Season in fall celebrate the bounty of the season paired with holiday-inspired food. Days of Wine and Chocolate helps us through the winter with warm weekends in which to explore sweet and savoury pairings of wine and chocolate. The renowned Ice Wine Festival enables us to celebrate all things Icewine, and to appreciate that it’s not merely about sweetness, but about all the savoury pairings to enjoy. The New Vintage Festival showcases all that’s new for the coming year. In between, countless pop up ideas offer experiences that fit whatever we’re looking for.
Savour the Sights is a progressive dining experience through the most picturesque locations of the winery. We begin with sparkling wines and hors d’oeuvres in The Great Hall, and then progress to the atrium for a million dollar view of the vineyard. In the Entourage room we enjoy two more courses, before heading down to the barrel cellar for our main course, and returning to the boutique for desserts. Wine pairings with each course inspire our imaginations as much as our palates.
A new program called Fireside Wine & Chocolate offers four different wines to pair with artisanal chocolates from Belfry Chocolates. Learn why they pair well together while lounging on couches and comfy chairs by a crackling fire. A glass of Sparkling Brut is served with a white chocolate covered pretzel. Sweet and salt characters coalesce into a foamy mousse. Sticks, marshmallows and graham crackers are used for making s’mores in the fireplace while enjoying a big, round, buttery Grand Reserve Chardonnay. The chocolate elicits caramel qualities. The fifteen months oak-aged Grand Reserve Merlot has hints of cocoa that lend itself to a 75% Dark chocolate pairing that evokes raspberry, cassis and warm chocolate in your mouth. For dessert, Cabernet Franc Icewine chocolate truffles sing of chocolate covered cherries.
The goal at Jackson Triggs is to demystify wine and make every guest comfortable with the idea of integrating wine into meals they already know and love. In addition to public and private tours, and formal lunches and dinners, we can visit the Entourage Room, whose patio offers one of the best views in Niagara, and order simple but beautiful homey foods. We don’t have to prepare multi-course dinners to incorporate wine into our everyday. Here we indulge in share boards of local cheese and charcuterie; hummus and tapenades, and country grilled cheese.
What could pair better with a Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut than a grilled cheese sandwich of local ham and Brie? Pair the Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Merlot with beef kabobs, and the Sparkling Grand Reserve Entourage Sauvignon Blanc with fish tacos. Jackson Triggs Sparkling wines are not necessarily for fancy occasions; they can be for any day to sparkle. Low sugar content and high crisp acidity make these wines food friendly.
In summer, the amphitheatre in the vineyards of Jackson-Triggs estate has become a hot venue for touring acts, making the Summer Concert Series one of Canada’s great experiences. Sinking into a sumptuous glass of Riesling Icewine that bursts with lychees and peaches, while munching on a bag of freshly popped corn, and transfixed on the mellifluous ballads of Sarah McLachlan is simply a beautiful experience. The barrel cellar dinner before the concert reflects what is growing in Niagara. Jackson Triggs works with farmers to incorporate farm fresh produce into the menu. We are greeted with a glass of Entourage Sparkling Brut, slightly pink with lingering fruit, zest and minerality. Local cheese and charcuterie are artfully presented with house-made preserves, and followed by an amuse bouche and a three-course dinner. This multi-course, multi-pairing extravaganza shows off how the chef and winemaker harmonize to share their passion for pairings.
So much of wine enjoyment is connected with our sense of smell. The bouquet in the swirl of a glass seduces us. Our olfactory memory is our strongest memory sense, and the one from which we can most easily recall experiences. When it comes to choosing a wine, there is no substitute for the experience of visiting the winery and creating unique visceral and romantic memories for a lifetime. www.jacksontriggswinery.com
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.