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Archive for the ‘Dessert Wines’ Category

Review: Concha y Toro Late Harvest Private Reserve (2008)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 12, 2013

SAM_0954When the wine industry in Chile was just beginning to get its feet underneath itself in 1883, Don Melchor, a local businesman and politico imported vines from the Bordeaux region of France and began to plant them in the Maipo Valley of Pirque in Chile. These first grapevines from France served as the foundation for what was to become Viña Concha y Toro.

The Concha y Toro Private Reserve is produced in Do Maulle Valley from late harvest Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Higher than normal rainfalls in the Do Maulle Valley at times may produce the appearance of a specific fungus called Botrytis cinerea which affects grapes by absorbing their moisture making them dry. As the fruit loses moisture, its sugar content increases dramatically with the final result being that the “botrytised” or rotten grapes are able to produce an intensely sweet and flavourful wine. It is for this reason that Botrytis cinerea is known by vineyards throughout the world as the “Noble Rot”.

I was provided a 375ml sample bottle of this Noble wine by the good folks at Select Wines who are the local distributors here in Alberta.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Concha y Toro Late Harvest Private Reserve (2008)

“… The Concha y Toro dessert wine brings a laid back style forward with sweet fruity flavours of canned pears and apricot. A light flavour of honeydew melon, a few green grapes and light apple flavours slide across the palate, and of course we have that lovely honeyed sweetness which is characteristic of late harvest dessert wines …”

Please enjoy my review of this delicious dessert wine!

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Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2013

SAM_0903 Croft Pink

Croft Pink advertises itself as the first Pink Port. This new Port style is produced in a manner which handles the Douro Valley red Port grapes in a similar manner to that which is used when producing a non-wooded white wine.  According to the Cort Pink website:

” This vinification method extracts a light amount of colour from the skins without extracting astringent tannins which would make the palate of this light style of Port aggressive. The cold settling prior to fermentation and the cool fermentation are fundamental to enhance the freshness of fruit and its elegance.”

Although the production method is  similar to that used when making white wine, the product is undeniably Port wine. It is made from red grapes in the Douro Valley, fortified with distilled grape spirit, and bottled at 19.5 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine)

“… I noticed that this Port expression is not nearly as assertive in aroma other styles of Port which I have sampled in the past. Light, sweet fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries, green grapes and effervescent grapefruit zest greet my nose …”

I found this wine very much at home in long tall drinks with lots of ice; and, as you will see in the review, I also found a nice cocktail recipe which mixes Croft Pink with Scotch and Apricot Brandy which is very tasty.

Enjoy the Review!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines, Pink Port | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon (2008)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 15, 2013

SAM_0896 Noble OneNoble One Botrylis Semillon which is the subject of this review was created in 1982 by Darren De Bortoli.  Currently the wine has 26 vintages, and has become the standard-bearer for the De Bortoli family. The Noble One is produced from a late hand-picked harvest of the Semillon grape. The agent at work is a specific fungus called Botrytis cinerea which affects the grapes by absorbing their moisture making them dry. As the fruit loses moisture, its sugar content increases dramatically. Other factors may be at work as well with the final result being that the “botrytised” or rotten grapes are able to produce an intensely sweet and flavourful wine. Fortunately for De Bortoli, autumn in the Riverina region (where the Semillon grapes are grown) often sees long, dry, warm days interspersed with a sprinkling of showers and heavy morning dews, an ideal situation for producing the Noble Fungus.

I met Darren Blood the Export Manager (Americas and New Zealand) for De Bortoli Wines at a portfolio tasting for Lifford Wines, who are the local distributors of the Australian Noble One Botrytis Semillon dessert wine. Darren arranged for me to receive a 375 ml sample of the Noble One for review upon my website.

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon (2008)

“… The breezes above the glass were enticing. There is a suave richness in the air which gives me impressions of sweet nectar and honey. I smell full bunches of green grapes, fresh apples and ripe pears. Some vanilla accents these initial impressions and a certain light spiciness reminds me of sandalwood and white oak …”

Please enjoy my review of this succulent dessert wine!

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Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2013

SAM_0749 Quinta de la Rosa LBVQuinta de la Rosa was established in 1906 when the Port house was given to Claire Feueheerd as a Christening gift. Although the family rum Port shipping company was shut down in the 1930s, Claire maintained the vineyards and ran la Rosa. In 1988, Claire’s Grandaughter, Sophia and her father, Tim Bergqvist decided to relaunch Quinta de la Rosa as a small family run winery producing a variety of wines including Port.

Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottled Vintage Port wines are produced from grapes grown in a single year at Quinta de la Rosa. They are matured for between four and six years; but they are not filtered prior to bottling. In the case of the 2007 LBV, this wine was produced from grapes harvested in mid September 2007, and it was bottled almost four years later  in July 2011.

Normally, I would leave a bottle like the Quinta de la Rosa LBV 2007 in my cellar (actually it is a cold room) for several years before I would open it to receive the benefit of bottle aging. However, the particular bottle I have pictured below was given to my by the folks at Thristy Cellars for the purpose of a review. I would expect that whatever scores I assign during this review would actually increase if I were to allow the wine to mature in my cold room.

You may click on the following excerpt for my full review:

Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

“… Over time some faint raisin and cherry notes arose, alongside some some sort of mealy vegetal aroma. It was obvious to me that this wine was going to require a lot of time to bring forward the rush of berry and fruit sensations which I relish in a good Port. So I waited …”

Please enjoy my latest Port Wine Review from the small house of Quinta de la Rosa.

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Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2013

SAM_0744 Calem LBV 2006Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem and remained a family business for 4 generations. Since 1998  however, (although the Cálem family remain with the company as minority shareholders) Cálem has been part of the Portuguese Wine company, Sogevinus SGPS, S.A.

Porto Cálem Late Bottled Vintages are produced from red grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Portugal. The wine is aged between 4 to 6 years in oak casks and in wine vats. Because Cálem filters their LBV’s before bottling, their style of Late Bottled Vintage Port wine does not benefit from further aging in the bottle. It is ready to be served and does not require decanting.

(Note: I received my sample bottle from Woodman Wines and Spirits who advised me that 196 cases Calem LBV Port were to be released through Vintages (in the Province of Ontario) on June 22nd.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

“… The aroma is soft and full of sweet purple fruit as the breezes above the glass bring forward smells of plump fresh dark-red cherries, black raspberry jam, and sticky plum sauce. I seem to smell a vague earthiness under the ripe fruit as impressions of rich damp humus fill soil seem to be hinted at. There is also a light spiciness which for me is reminiscent of wood chips drying in the sun …”

Please enjoy the review of this surprisingly good LBV Port Wine!

(Please note that the problem I had earlier with the above link has been fixed!)

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Review: Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 16, 2013

SAM_0753 Sandeman 2007 LBVThe House of Sandeman traces its history all the way back to 1790 when George Sandeman, an Scotsman from Perth, started a wine business in London. He borrowed £300 (which was quite a sum of money back then), purchased a wine cellar, and began to sell Porto and Sherry from Tom’s Coffee House in London. He expanded his company by establishing an agency in Cadiz, Spain in 1795, and by 1811, he had purchased a wine cellar in V.N. Gaia, Portugal. Although the House went public in 1952, and is no longer a family owned Wine Bodega (House), in 1990 George Sandeman (the seventh generation George Sandeman) reunited the company with the Sandeman family by becoming the managing director. In June 2002, Sandeman became part of the Sogrape Group who also own the Port companies Ferreira and Offley.

Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Ports are produced from the grapes of a single year. The resulting wine is aged for about four years, and then bottled following a slight tuning when it is deemed mature. According to the Sandeman website, their LBV wine is ready to be consumed directly from the bottle, although it may contain some sediment if left unopened for a longer spell.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007) by Charton Hobbes, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007)

“… I nosed and sipped very sparingly on my glass and discovered that it took about 20 minutes for the glass to begin to bring forward a fruit filled bouquet of Bing cherries and ripe red raspberries, although that mineral quality I noticed earlier clung resolutely to the breezes as well. Very faintly, I notice some nice plums and raisin meandering within the scents of the bursting red fruit …”

Please enjoy the review and for those Dads reading my blog, Happy Father’s Day!

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Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 7, 2013

Alvear Pedro Ximenez 1927

It seems lately, that whenever I am invited to an industry sponsored event, I am asked to try a new rum or whisky which has spent some time in a Pedro Ximénez cask (also called a PX cask and/or a Pedro Jiménez cask). The presence of the PX Cask can be tasted in premium rums like Ron Zacapa XO, as well as in single malt whiskies like the Auchentoshan Three Wood, as both rum and whisky producers have found this to be an excellent oak cask to use during maturation to add sweet raisiny flavour to their spirits. Because of the growing importance of the PX Cask, I thought an examination of at least one Pedro Ximénez wine would be a worthwhile venture upon my website. Fortunately for me, I met Maria Alvear at the recent Pacific Wine and Spirits, 40th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting. Maria is of course a member of the Alvear Family which produces the Alvear Pedro Ximénez family of wines. Maria arranged for me to receive a small bottle of the Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927 for review upon my website.

Alvear is one of the more prestigious Bodegas (wine houses) in Andalusia (an autonomous region of Spain). The grape varietal upon which the Bodega is built is Pedro Ximénez. This grape is believed to have been imported from the Rhine region (in Germany), and is used as the sole base for Alvear’s sweet, Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado and of course Pedro Ximénez wines. The wine which goes by the name Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927 is produced from the dried grape (or raisin) rather than from the fresh grape. Harvested grapes are placed upon special grass mats, and slowly sun-dried. The raisins are then crushed into a heavy, dense raisin juice (almost a syrup) which is used as the basis for the wine.

The Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927 wine is matured in a solera which was originally laid down in 1927,  and therefore every bottle produced will have a tiny amount of the original wine from 1927.

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927

“… The initial aroma is a reflection of dry fruit (mostly prunes with additional dates and raisins) and dark bittersweet chocolate. As the glass sits I notice building aromas of sweet dark caramel and maple, as well as an underlying impression of walnuts and pecans. There appears to be a bit of spiciness in the breezes above the glass, and perhaps I am noticing touches of marzipan and marmalade meandering within those breezes as well …”

Please enjoy my latest review!

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Review: Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Port Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 31, 2013

SAM_0751 Taylor Fladgate 2007 LBVThe Fladgate Partnership owns three important Port houses, Taylor’s Port (Taylor Fladgate), Fonsecu, and Croft’s. Of the three, Taylor’s is the oldest and most influential, founded in 1692 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal by Job Bearsley. Although ownership of the company has moved through a variety of families, Taylor’s is (and has been since inception) independently owned and managed.

The wines used in the Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Porto blend are drawn from a reserve of full-bodied red ports which were produced from the 2007 harvest, from grapes grown on Taylor’s own vineyards and on other top properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas. This wine remained in wood about five years and was bottled in 2012.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Port by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Port Wine

“… The initial scents in the breezes reflect a restrained nose. I sense more tannin within this LBV Port than others I have sampled recently. Smells of raisins, figs and dry black fruit are prevalent. Some dark fudgey scents crawl out of the glass, as well as impressions akin to black Chinese tea …”

Please enjoy my review (and have a great weekend)!

Posted in Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines, LBV Port | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2006 Port Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 24, 2013

SAM_0752 Dow's 2006 LBVDow’s is one of the Port Houses belonging to the Symington Family whose ancestry in the Port trade spans a period of over three and a half centuries. This family’s association with Dow’s began in the early 1900’s when Andrew James Symington, became a partner in Warre & Co, the first and oldest British Port company established in Portugal. The Warre Family at the time owned Dow’s; but apparently had little interest in managing the company and invited Symington to manage the vineyards and lodges of Dow’s as well those of Warre & Co.. In 1912, Andrew Symington, acquired 30 % ownership of Dow’s, and later, in 1961 the Symington Family gained full control and sole ownership of the entire company.

Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port wines are produced from grapes grown in a single year from Dow’s best vineyards. The wine has been matured for between four and six years and is filtered prior to bottling. Because it has been matured and then filtered, this style of Port wine is ready for immediate consumption and will not require decanting or filtering of sediment before serving.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2006 by The Bacchus Group, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2006 Port Wine

“… As you let the wine breathe the fruity smells begin to grow slowly seeping into the air with smells of blackberries, plums and dark red cherries. There are hints of dry fruit, as well as grape skins and stems adding to that earthy quality underneath …”

I hope you enjoy this review of what I consider to be an outstanding Late Bottled Vintage port.

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Review: W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2013

SAM_0699 Graham's Six GrapesThe subject of this review, is a bottle of Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port Wine. Six Grapes is one of the original Port blends (or marques) from Graham’s. It is, you could say, the flagship Reserve Port Wine produced by the company (or lodge). According to the Graham’s website, only the grapes from the finest vineyards are used to produce this marque. The distinctive depiction of grape bunches on the bottle is taken from the identification symbols long used in the Graham’s lodge to identify the wines destined to make up the Six Grapes blend. The wine is sourced from the same vineyards (essentially Quinta dos Malvedos and Quinta das Lages) that contribute to Graham’s famed Vintage Ports in ‘declared’ years. This means that it will resemble Graham’s Vintage Port in that it has a similar rich and full-bodied style. However unlike the Vintage Port, Six Grapes is a blend of different Vintages which have been aged a relatively short period of time (between 3 and 4 years).

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port

“… The Six Grapes Port Wine looks luscious in the glass. It carries deep red tones at the center of the glass, and a rich plum coloured crest at the top. The aroma has depth, full of the smells of sweetened ripe dark fruit. I am thinking dark ripe BC cherries, wild blackberries and plump purple plums. Subtle notes of raisin, dates and cocoa lurk underneath …”

Please enjoy my review of this dandy Port wine.

Posted in Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines, Ruby Port | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

 
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