Monday, March 1, 2010

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery

(Photograph taken by Kevin Brochu)

Jackson-Triggs is the flagship of Vincor International, which owns numerous wineries all over Canada including Inniskillin, Le Clos Jardanne and See Ya Later Ranch in British Columbia. Whereas Inniskilin focuses on Ice Wine, Jackson-Triggs’s main focus is on red and white table wines.

Although there are many red wines that Jackson-Triggs produce that I absolutely adore such as the 2007 Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc and the 2007 Delaine Vineyard Syrah, both of which I highly recommend. I will try to stay on point and keep the focus of my blog on Niagara Region Chardonnays. Therefore, I tasted and judged the 2008 Grand Reserve Chardonnay and the 2008 Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay.

2008 Grand Reserve Chardonnay – $19.95

Visual: Straw colour

Aroma: Toasty oak, baked almonds and hazelnut.

Flavour: Citrus fruit, creamy, well layered, lots of acidity, vanilla, hazelnut, butterscotch and a smooth clean finish.

My opinion: I have always been a big supporter of the Jackon-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay. It is a very high quality wine that is well balanced with great acidity. The full malolactic fermentation always complements this wine nicely with creamy flavours of vanilla, butter, hazelnut and baked almonds. For those who do not know what malolactic fermentation is, it’s when the fermentation process happens within an oak barrel instead of a stainless steel tank. The malolactic fermentation is a wonderful technique to use when making Chardonnay as it gives the wine more creamy flavours and textures by transforming the malolactic acid into lactic acid. Malolactic acid is commonly found within grape juice or “grape must” and is created through the original lactic fermentation which gives fruity citrus flavours. Unfortunately, the 2008 Grand Reserve Chardonnay was not the best vintage for this wine. I much prefer the 2007 as I have an entire 12-bottle case hidden away. The 2007 Grand Reserve Chardonnay won a Gold medal at Vinitaly out of 4500 different Chardonnay from all over the world. This just proves the quality of Chardonnay that we’re able to produce in the Niagara Region as well as the superior quality of Jackson-Triggs wines. Therefore, the 2008 Grand Reserve Chardonnay is a great Chardonnay, however it is no comparison to its predecessor.

My rating: 85/100 – Although it’s not as good as the 2007, it’s still among the best.

2008 Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay – $21.95

Visual: Straw colour.

Aroma: Hazelnut, citrus, oak.

Flavour: Heavy oak, and citrus.

My opinion: The Delaine vineyard is located in the 4-mile creek appellation. I find that Chardonnays that come from this appellation tend to be heavily oaked and posses a green pea flavour that I don’t find appetizing. For those who like a heavy oak flavour similar to what might come out of Napa Valley, then this wine might be for you. I on the other hand, enjoy a Chardonnay with a little more elegance and complexity with a nice smooth creamy flavour. Regrettably, these are characteristics that the Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay does not posses.

My rating: 70/100 – The Delaine Vineyard is their top tiered wine. However, I much prefer the Grand Reserve.


  1. Hey Kevin

    I was wondering if you to tell me one Chardonnay I should try. I don't normally like Chardonnay but I am willing to give it a try for the blog!

  2. I love Jackson Triggs - even if you're not a fan of their wines, the winery itself is a MUST to visit. It's absolutely beautiful in the Summer and the architecture is awesome.

  3. I haven't actually ever been to a winery in the Niagara region. That is pathetic considering I live so close. My best winery experience thus far was at the Mission Hill winery in Napier, New Zealand. Fantastic food, amazing Gewurztraminer! Looking forward to topping that one! Let me know what your suggestions are!

  4. I have taken many international visitors to this winery. They always love the atmosphere here and I never get sick of the scenery!

  5. My first vineyard visit was to Jackson-Triggs. I agree that they have one of the most beautiful buildings and scenery in the area. It is also where I got to taste my first sip of ice wine. But I am not one to comment on how wine tastes, because I honestly don't like the taste of any of it. I do have faith that with time my taste for it may grow, so get back to be in a couple of decades.

  6. Last summer, I went for a drive along Niagara-on-the-Lake's vineyards. Wow! Beautiful drive. My grandparents used to have a vineyard in Portugal; when I was a child I had the chance to observe (and sometimes to participate) in the winemaking process. What a wonderful experience. I also had the chance to visit Chile's vineyards. However, Brazilian vineyards (located in the Southern part of the country) are too far away from Rio de Janeiro, so I never had the chance to visit those, but I have tasted the Brazilian wine. By the way, Kevin, have you ever tried any Brazilian wine? Thank you for taking me to this "Wine Tasting Trip" on your blog. Great work!