Friday, December 27, 2013

Report from ... The Great Estates of Niagara FAM tour - September 19, 2013

Today we got to tour the three Great Estates of Niagara (Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, and Le Clos Jordanne) and a number of their vineyards ... below is the pictorial story of the day's events.

Boarding the bus for the day trip around the Great Estates of Niagara
properties, producers and vineyards
First stop, Montague Vineyard, when we try the newest edition of the
Inniskillin 2012 Montague Vineyard Chardonnay ... right in the middle
of this vineyard made up of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
And witness the grapes hanging before harvest (pictured: Chardonnay) -
which would happen very soon - as you shall see
and Pinot Gris
and the Pinot Gris is exceptionally 'gris' this year
Our next stop is the Brae Burn Vineyard -
where harvest is in full swing
Where we'll be sampling the new
Inniskillin 2012 Reserve Viognier
Stacey Mulholland does her best Vanna White impression
showing off the wine
While chef David Penney prepares the oysters to match -
yup, oysters in the vineyard at 11am - life's pretty good!
And Inniskillin winemaker, Bruce Nicholson, checks grape data
(at least we assume he is checking on grape data this time of year)
Bruce Nicholson gets us together to talk about his picking regime:
"I wanna pick when I want to pick, not when the weather tells me"
A look at the Viognier grapes of 2013 -
Inniskillin uses only the grapes from this 2 acre plot
- Viognier grapes #2 -
Bruce looks for 23 brix to get the
characteristics he wants in the wine
Debi Pratt listens in over the vines
A look out over the vineyard to the Inniskillin winery in the distance ... our next stop
Where we are greeted by Errol at the weigh station, where we are shown
how grapes are brought in and measured for brix levels with a large
refractometer (accurate to .1 degrees)
And here is my gratuitous dog shot, Errol's dog Penny, who kept to himself in the shade
Next stop was the cellar at Inniskillin
where we'll have a mainly Pinot Gris tasting

Four of them to be exact - highlights include the
2012 Discovery Series P3 and the 2012 Reserve
the 2009 Legacy Pinot Gris (aged 3 months new French oak)
tall with Icewine-esque flavours without the sweetness -
this was a library wine showing that Pinot Gris can age,
under the right circumstances (****)
It wouldn't be a trip to Inniskillin without Icewine being on the menu -
here is the new 2012 Cabernet Franc Icewine (****)

And the inaugural 2012 Cabernet Franc Sparkling Icewine ...
another beauty and a welcome addition to the Inniskillin line-up.
Interesting fact: Inniskillin Icewine is in 75 countries
Now it's off to the Delaine Vineyard where Jackson-Triggs winemaker,
Marco Piccoli, met us to discuss two of J-T's flagship wines

The Delaine 2012 Fume Blanc
Marco, as it turns out, is a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc
I told you harvest was happening
and where once Marco stood, the harvester came thru
and deposited it's load of Sauvignon Blanc
The stars of the Delaine vineyard ...
are these Syrah grapes - and they make this ...
Delaine Vineyard 2011 Syrah
Marco on Syrah:  "hang Syrah as long as possible because we don't want to
harvest green Syrah ... it's not an easy varietal"
The wines made from the Delaine Vineyard are
Chardonnay / Pinot Noir / Cabernet-Merlot / Gewurztraminer / Syrah / and Fume Blanc
From there we head to Jackson-Triggs winery where we'll have the pleasure
of dining on the Amphitheatre stage

There were plenty of wines served, but the highlight is always
Sparkling wine, Jackson-Triggs makes these three
"One of the greatest wines coming out of the region is sparkling" - Marco (Sept. 2013)
One of our own, Michael Vaughan, wine writer of some acclaim and
of some age (70) celebrates on the stage and with a cake ...
thanks to Debi Pratt and The Great Estates
A view from the Amphitheatre stage
The day's last stop, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard, the warmest of the vineyards
in the Clos line-up and the first to be picked
Where we met up with Le Clos' new winemaker Sebastian Jacquey
While there we were given Le Clos Jordanne outback-style hats ...
here Frank Baldock shows the proper way to wear it
While Alan McGinty shows the wrong way

We tried 3 wines, all Pinot Noirs, and all a sneak peak of the new vintage
My top two were the 2011 Le Clos Jordanne
And the 2011 Claystone Vineyard
The day ended with those sips and then it was back onto the bus and back to whence we came ... a big thank you goes out to the Great Estates of Niagara for a wonderful day in the vineyard.

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