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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

One wine -- and three responses to it

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Never let it be said that wine-drinking isn’t an adventure.

And it’s an adventure that can present itself in many episodes, even when just one wine is involved.

Case in point: My recent interactions with the 2011 vintage of Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

I’d been invited to a birthday party at which the man of the hour, my new friend Ron, had been gifted with a bottle of the above-mentioned beverage, and was gracious enough to share it with the other guests who were into red wine.

Ron and I encountered each other at the bar, where he showed me the bottle, after which I brazenly asked for a sip — just a sip — so I could try it. I didn’t want a full glass — this was a bubbly and white wine night for me, and I was drinking the lovely Royal de Neuville, a French, ever-so-slightly off-dry, fruity crackling rosé (it sells for $10.92) as we came to this point in the evening. And I think that might have been where all the trouble, if you can call it that, began.

Anyway, Ron happily obliged, pouring me a few sips of his birthday gift. I was VERY pleasantly surprised. It was wonderful. Bone dry, and edgy in a good way — it had lots of guts — with plenty of raspberry and black currant aromas and flavours, this was one impressivecabernet. AND it was Canadian! I was one happy camper.

I continued, however, to drink my bubbly and the whites — I enjoyed the Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay ($16.99) as always, and was reminded that the Wyndham Estate Bin 222 Chardonnay ($14.99) is no slouch either, although it’s a little more citrusy than I usually prefer.

However, I looked forward to picking up a bottle of the 2011 Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as soon as I could arrange to do so.

That opportunity presented itself the following week. I had planned to pick up a bottle of one of my favourite wines to go with the hamburgers we were planning for supper — either the Falernia Reserva Carmenere Syrah from Chile ($15.99) or the Casas Patronales Reserva Privada Carmenere (which is being or has been cleared out at $11.20). But Icould find neither. So while I was there, I bought a couple of bottles of the aforementioned Jackson-Triggs for $17.99. I was delighted by the price, because when I’d tasted it at the party, I thought it read much more like a $27 bottle. So I was happy to see it for $18.

Anyway, when I got home, sans hamburger wine, and with nothing else I felt would be suitable in the wine fridge or on the wine rack, I thought, ‘What the heck,’ and after chilling it for a while, opened the Jackson-Triggs with which I had been so enamoured.

It was still bone dry, but it was a little more edgy than I remembered — it seemed almost harsh. That’s when I started to think about my first encounter with said beverage. As I mentioned earlier, I’d been at a party, so there was a festive, celebratory air, which always makes things that much better. I was surrounded by people I really care about — another huge plus for an enjoyable experience. And my palate had been primed, or perhaps even softened to some degree, by a glass of the Royal de Neuville. So that bubby’s flavours, as well as the slight alteration in perception that comes with consuming even a small bit of alcohol, had coloured, to some degree at least, my initial observations about the JT.

Don’t get me wrong — I still really liked it. It just wasn’t quite as fabulous as I remembered. And while it was a bit harsh as a sipper, as many cabernets are, it went great with the burgers, and was terrific with steak a few nights later.

But here’s another twist. After both those meals, I poured another quarter-glass of the JT (I usually like just a few more sips of wine when I’m done with the food to complete or round out the dining experience). And once the meal was over, I couldn’t stand the wine! That’s never happened to me before! But there was no denying it. I really liked a small amount of it before the meal, I loved it WITH the meal, but I hated it after. How weird is that?

I have no explanation for this mixed reaction, but that’s what happened. However, that said, I really urge cabernet sauvignon fans to check out this wine. It’s good — I swear — and it’s Canadian VQA, and for what you’re getting, the price is really reasonable. But beware of weirdly convoluted responses like mine.

Never let it be said that wine-drinking isn’t an adventure…

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 6, 2013

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Never let it be said that wine-drinking isn’t an adventure.

And it’s an adventure that can present itself in many episodes, even when just one wine is involved.

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Never let it be said that wine-drinking isn’t an adventure.

And it’s an adventure that can present itself in many episodes, even when just one wine is involved.

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