Saturday, January 15, 2011

J-T Meritage

After last night's stellar Burrowing Owl, the dictates of Boo's "No Buy Leash" resulted in my grabbing another older BC wine from a box at the bottom of our "cellar." A 2001 BC wine has got to be almost as old a vintage as we have nowadays.

It wasn't that long ago that everyone would hold their collective breath when opening a 10-year old BC wine. We were never sure that it would have the capability of aging that long. I doubt anyone would be so brash as to say that you can lay down all BC wines and expect them to last or improve at all with any substantial aging - but it's definitely been shown that the potential is there.

707. 2001 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors' Reserve Meritage (VQA Okanagan Valley)

After learning the surprising pedigree of last night's wine, it was equally as unexpected to find out that this Meritage had fared pretty well for itself on the award circuit as well. Unlike the Syrah, it didn't win Canadian Red Wine of the Year, however, it turns out that it was a finalist for that award and only lost out to J-T's Grand Reserve Meritage. Same wine, just ramped up a notch.

Maybe there was a reason I laid it down in the first place.

As Jackson-Trigg's Okanagan winery only started up in 1998, the 2001 vintage was one of their first attempts at a Meritage blend. During these early years, the wine was crafted from equal portions of Cab Sauv and Merlot (40% each) with Cab Franc making up the 20% balance.

Personally, I don't think the wine aged quite as well as last night's Syrah did. The back label talks of "intense" raspberry, chocolate and mint, but I think the "intensity" had diminished over the years. Nothing wrong with the wine, but it didn't jump out and grab us in the manner that you might expect of one of the best wines of the year.

I know there'll be more J-T wines that do achieve that "jump out and grab us" status. An operation doesn't get named "Canadian winery of the year" in as many competitions as Jackson-Triggs does if doesn't have that calibre of wine to pour. The question is "do we have one of those bottles in our cellar?"

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