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Posts Tagged ‘Dessert Wine’

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: 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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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: 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.

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

Review: Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) 2009

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 13, 2012

The Chenin Blanc is a very versatile white grape wine varietal which can produce wines of any level of sweetness from dry table wine to sweet dessert wine. These wines are generally recognized for their high level of acidity and for their long aging potential. The variety is commonly associated with the Loire Valley in France where the varietal has been grown for nearly 1300 years.

At the Château de Targé (in the Loire Valley) the Chenin Blanc grape varietal is harvested at three different maturity levels to produce three different wines. A hand-picked harvest of just ripe grapes is used for the Brut Blanc, over matured grapes are picked for the Fresnettes and sometimes, although not every year, grape clusters are allowed to Botrytize (noble rot) to concentrate their sweetness thanks to the famous fungus, (Botrytis Cinerea) to make Coteaux de Saumur dessert wines.

It is the Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009 which is the subject of this review. Here is an excerpt:

“… The wine displays a pale yellow straw colour in the glass with an initial nose which brings strong green apple and fresh peach aromas into the air. A honeyed sweetness is obvious, but there is also a nice spicy intensity about the nose which is appealing. As the glass rests, tart almost ripe green grapes, stronger apple notes and more spice rise into the breezes… “

You may read my full review here:

Review: Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) 2009

Please enjoy this review of a most excellent dessert wine!

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Review: Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (2001)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 28, 2012

Tokaj-Hétszolo white dessert wines are made from 100% Furmint grapes at the Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate, which lies on the south side of Mount Tokaj in the north of Hungary, 200 km east of Budapest. This part of the world is known for its exceptional growing climate; and in fact, has been protected since 1772 by the first appellation of origin awarded in the entire world, (a full 83 years before Bordeaux wines were officially classed). The Tokaj-Hétszolo dessert wines are unique not just for where they are created; but also because of the unique manner in which the grapes are harvested. The grapes selected to produce the wine are not picked when they have ripened; rather they are left to “rot” or “Botrytise” on the vine and picked by hand as late as possible in the growing season.

I should point out that the appearance of the “noble rot” depends not only upon the location (or terroir) of the vineyards, but upon the irascible weather. It is not uncommon for no Aszú grapes to appear for several years at a time. This makes the Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu a special wine which can only be produced when conditions are right.

The particular Aszu wine I am reviewing today is the Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (2001). I was provided with this bottle by Thirsty Cellar Imports who is the local importer here in Alberta.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The wine displays a pleasing golden amber in the glass, and the initial nose brings forward immediate notes of green apple jelly and fresh green grapes. Swirling the wine gently in the glass brings much more into those breezes above the glass. The scents of freshly opened cans of apricots and pears; a sweet aroma of honey and caramel; light sensations of freshly sliced lemons and pineapple; and a vague but persistent impression of cashew peanuts all dance playfully above the glass…. “

Here is a link to the full review (which contains a little more information about botrytised wines):

Review: Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (2001)

Please enjoy my review!

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Review: Cálem 10 Year Old Tawny Port Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 29, 2012

I came upon the chance to review this particular Cálem Port Wine quite by accident. When Woodman Wines and Spirits learned I was looking for a suitable aged Tawny Port in my mad desire to construct a new and original “Millionaire Punch”. They suggested that they could send me a bottle of the Cálem 10 Year Old Tawny for the recipe’s construction. The Cálem Tawny had all of the characteristics I was looking for, and I agreed to receive the bottle. Since I would not need the entire bottle for my punch recipe, I decided I would review this wine here on my website as well.

In case you are wondering, my “Millionaire Punch” was an unmitigated disaster, and I regret that 4 oz of this wonderful Port Wine was subjected to my dreadful experiment.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… In the glass, the tawny port exhibits a rich aroma of dry fruit, (prunes, dates and raisins) and brown sugary baking spices (Vanilla, cinnamon and Demerara sugar). I also notice some nice fresh fruit scents welling up which remind me of blackberries, fresh BC cherries and red currant. A few freshly bitten dark plums, some ripe raspberry, and a touch of coffee and chocolate round out the breezes above my glass. This is very nice… “

You may read the full review here:

Review: Cálem 10 Year Old Tawny Port Wine

I had planned on revealing my “Millionaire Punch” as part of this review, but I rather think it best that I advise you to enjoy this Port Wine in the manner in which it was intended, as a wonderful after dinner treat.

Enjoy the review!

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Review: Jost Maple Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 13, 2012

Jost Vineyards is situated along the picturesque Northumberland Strait, just off the Sunrise Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada. The waters of the Northumberland Strait bring the warmth of the South Atlantic to the Maritimes creating an ideal climate for growing grapes in a climate which features a long, warm, frost-free season.

Jost Vineyards Maple Wine is made from maple sap collected from the vast maple forests of Nova Scotia. The maple sap is carefully ‘cool’ fermented until the desired concentration of residual sugars is reached. The result is a unique dessert-wine.

I thought I would step a little ways out of my comfort zone today, and offer up a brief review of this Canadian Dessert wine.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The initial nose from the glass reminds me more of ripe green apple than it does of maple. In fact, my first thought when I took a sniff was that the spirit is very reminiscent of BC Apple Cider. It was when I dropped an ice-cube into the glass and gave it a good swirl to chill the contents, that I began to finally receive those maple notes within the fermented apple cider smells …”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Jost Maple Wine

Please enjoy the review, Cheers!

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