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A few months ago, I was the lucky winner of a Savour the Sights dinner (contest held by Embrace Niagara) at Jackson Triggs in Niagara on the Lake. We decided to pair it with the Wine & Herb festival this past weekend and made a weekend of it. The Wine & Herb passport allows you to visit  20+ wineries to sample a pairing. Each winery is assigned an herb and their pairing consists of an hors d’oeuvre inspired by the assigned herb with a wine tasting.

Saturday we visited wineries and enjoyed some great pairings:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES

Herb Inspiration: Basil (Lemon)

2011 Aligote/ Coq au Vin Chicken Breast and Smoked Chili Lemon Emulsion

COYOTE’S RUN ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Hoja Santa

2009 Red Paw Vineyard Syrah / Adabo and Red Paw Syrah Braised Beef Tostado (Mexican Pizza)

COLANERI ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Garlic

2009 Chardonnay / Turkey Tetrazzini with Liberina’s Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

INNISKILLIN WINES

Herb Inspiration: Cilantro

Late Autumn Riesling / Kent Farms Chicken Curry with Gomes Tomato and Cilantro

MARYNISSEN ESTATES WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Sage (Peppery)

2009 Merlot / Seared Sage Pork Belly with Merlot Soaked Cherries

RIVERVIEW CELLARS ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Mojito Mint

2011 Bianco Riesling Gewurztraminer / Mojito Mint Pistachio Ice Cream

We enjoyed having a refreshing minty ice cream pairing for dessert. 🙂

As usual, we stopped at Ravine for lunch:

Chris:

  • Soup of the day: Potato & leek with a mini scone/muffin
  • Ravine burger with green salad – aged cheddar, tomato, lettuce, Ravine’s smoked Canadian bacon

Val:

  • Lemon dill brined smoked scallop – cauliflower puree, Ravine pork belly, eggplant & goat cheese ravioli
  • Spinach, goat cheese and wild mushroom quiche

We stocked up on some great wines! I was happy to pick up some perfect-for-the-patio Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosee (Nicki – this ones for you! :))

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We checked into the hotel to freshen up before heading out to Jackson Triggs for dinner!

We were warmly welcomed at the winery and handed a seemingly bottomless glass of sparkling wine which we enjoyed in the Great Hall with about 12-14 other guests while hors d’oervres were passed. Note that I’ve posted a pic of the menu for the evening down below which contains the details of the wines and courses. Graham and Paul were the hosts and were awesome throughout the evening. Graham provided some history about the winery – we were interested to learn that Mr. Jackson and Mr. Triggs were from the Labatt wine division of yore.

Paul then gave us a tour of the facility and explained the grapes and winemaking process. Paul made the tour really fun and informative at the same time.

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The views of the vineyard were superb. During the walk through the facility, we enjoyed 2 more courses:

Another Sparkling (Sauvignon Blanc based) paired with a vibrant amuse-bouche of salmon sashimi – very tasty and the citrusy wine was fantastic.

Then, outside, we enjoyed a white Meritage with an asparagus tart, quail egg and goat cheese and asparagus soup. This was a fabulous representation of spring – delicious. Again, the view was amazing:

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Then we moved inside for 2 more courses. The chef Tim Mackiddie introduced each course with such enthusiasm – everyone at the table was eager to dig in after his passionate intro!

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A Chardonnay paired with a fiddle head risotto with mascarpone and forest mushrooms:

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Followed by a Pinot Noir paired with a blue crab cake with rhubard and fennel (sorry no pic – I dug in too quickly!).

We were then led to the Barrel Cellar for the main course which was a Syrah paired with an Ontario hen cooked in hay with spring peas and spring sqaush. The hen was delicious – so moist! The chef explained how they cooked it in hay to retain the moisture – very cool!

Then, up to the Boutique for the dessert party where we enjoyed a Vidal Icewine with several passed dessert bites.

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It was a fantastic event – I can’t say enough about Jackson Triggs. The meal and wines were excellent as was the tour of the facility and the vineyard views were spectacular. Our hosts Graham and Paul were awesome and made our night very special. Our fellow guests were great as well – we met some wonderful people.

Big Thanks to Embrace Niagara for holding the contest! You guys ROCK! 🙂

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