2016 Jackson-Triggs Bourbon Barrel Aged Merlot
Winemakers have many tools to help them produce expressive and different styles of wines each year. Ideally the winemaker is handed perfect grapes with great structure, ripeness, and varietal characteristics to transform into a style of wine that will resonate with the end consumers. When that does happen it enables the winemaker to let the fruit shine bright highlighting the vintage strengths and characteristics. Sometimes though it's fun for a winemaker to use the instruments they have at their disposal (fermentation(s) duration, temperature, yeast(s), oak aging, bottle aging, etc.) to experiment a bit and produce unique and expressive styles of wine that will resonate with a segment of the population. Whether it's a winemaker's minimalist interventions or their use of unique instruments, like Bourbon barrels, it's all done with intention to produce a specific style of wine.
In 2016 Marco's Merlot grapes arrived at the winery in terrific form with great ripeness, tannin and acid structure/balance, thereby giving him a great base to play with.
Marco harnessed the great quality fruit from the impressive 2016 vintage and added additional complexity and intrigue to this Niagara Merlot thanks to a combination of French and American barrel aging, including 10 months of finishing in small-batch Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The result is a very aromatic, well structured, and food friendly wine. It's a big and textured wine that will reward those that allow it to open up before consuming as well as pairing it with braised dishes or grilled steak with Port reduction.
The nose shows ripe dark fruit, dark chocolate, herbs, sweet spice, cedar and minerality. Full bodied with food friendly acidity and dusty tannins that will stand up to any rich dish and elevate the flavours of both the wine and the food, exactly what I expect of premium wines.
Tasted over a three day period, the flavours were abundant, the structure consistent, and the experience very enjoyable, for a wine that was designed to showcase both the great fruit characteristics and complexities imparted by the unique oak program that's loved by some. I'd recommend trying this premium Bourbon barrel aged wine if you enjoy rich and expressive oak aged wines. With that said, this wine will drink well over the next 5+ years and benefit from a 2 hour decant. Enjoy alongside protein rich dishes. Tasted October 2019. 92 points. Matt Steeves - www.quercusvino.ca