Kerner 2010 (White) – Gray Monk, 11.7% ABV, (BC VQA Okanagan, BC)

From the Graymonk.com website:

“The Kerner grapes originate from two distinct vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. Harvested in October 2010 and cool fermented to retain maximum flavours.

Lemon in hue, this wine’s layered aroma suggests ripe peaches and spiced pears. The complex flavours range from butter to lemon tarts. Subtly light on the palate, this wine finishes with delicate elegance and finesse, with a hint of natural sweetness. Served chilled, this wine is attractive on its own, with salads and fresh fruits and with fresh salmon with hollandaise. ”

My notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: Sweet bright summer fruit flavours
  • Where I got it: VQA Wine store (?)
  • How much: $18 , 2010
  • Bottom line: thumbs up, Recommended
  • Tasting temperature: 13C

Wine Tasting Notes: 5/10 sweetness up front, lots of peach, apricot, and a bit of pineapple. Very bright and drinks kind of like a dessert wine, but not as cloying. Some sourness in the finish, and sweetness becomes a little heavy if session drinking. Would be nice to have chilled with hot pot.

Speciale Noel – Brasserie Artisanale La Binchoise (since 1836), 9% ABV, (Faubourg, Saint Paul, Belgium). First brewed in 1993, serving temp, 10C. Bottle condition, unpasteurized, and unfiltered.

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I might like it: spiced winter beer
  • Who I recommend it to: full-bodied with huge ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$5, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours chestnut brown, largish high-retention head, lots of sticky lacing. Some malts on the nose. Tastewise, very smooth, highly spiced of nutmeg and cinnamon, honey, creamy velvet CO2,. Malted honey 5/10 sweetness up front, spices in the mid, minor bitter metallic finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, short-medium length. The spices don’t particularly carry on, mainly the maltiness.

Penticton Harvest Honey Pale Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing (Penticton, BC, Canada)

Penticton Harvest Honey Pale Ale – The Tin Whistle Brewing Company, 5% ABV, (Penticton, BC)

On the back label:

“Cascade hopes were harvested in the middle of the night and rushed to the brewery where under a full moon and the smiling countenance of the beer gods a little brewing magic took place. The incredibly fresh hops provide an intense citrus aroma and flavour. The addition of wildflower honey brings even more flavour and bright crisp finish. Only able to be made once a year with the hop harvest, get it while you can. Don’t miss out! -Jeff Todd, Brewmaster”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I might like it: sweet, smooth and bitter
  • Who I recommend it to: Pale ale lovers who want a twist
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$7, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: amber, smallish head, dissipating head, sticky lacing. Very apparent honey on the nose with a little bit of citrus sweetness. Medium fresh bitter hops up front mixed with some honey sweetness, and then a mild citrus crisp bitter finish. Medium length, medium complexity, med-high depth. Great smoothness and complexity of bitter, sweet, and slightly creamy.

X.O. Beer, 5.5% ABV, France

-Biere aromatisee au Cognac X.O. (Beer: 97%, Cognac: 2% @40%ABV

On the back label:

“Created from a harmonious blend with beer and Cognac, X.O. BEER reveals a variety of genuine and elegant sensations. Under certain conditions, this beer may present a natural cloudiness, which is harmless and does not affect its quality.”

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I might like it: N/A
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: Firefly
  • How much: <$5, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours reddish brown, slightly cloudy, small head that dissipates, very little CO2 head retention, slippery lacing. A bit of cinnamon spice on the nose but not much. Burst of date/cherry/plum 5/10 sweetness up front, a bit of raisin, and then a mild bitter caramel finish. The body and end is quite thin and ends abruptly lacking a necessary follow-through. A bit of metallic aftertaste (steel). Medium complexity, short-med length, medium depth. One bottle is enough.

Satan Red

Satan Red – Brewery De Block, 8% ABV, (Belgium)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I might like it: medium-complex, potent
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$15 for 4pack, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours orange brown with a medium foamy head, micro carbonation, thick lacing. Lots of CO2 streams – looks very inviting. Metallic copper on the nose, and a bit of apple fruitiness. Creamy thick going down due to the rich micro CO2, intense dried fruit malt with a 6/10 sweetness, and then quickly cuts sharp orange peel bitter dry, sustaining a long bitterness down the center of the throat. Medium complexity, medium-high depth, medium-long length. An enjoyable mix of sweet fruit, sharp bitterness, foamy creaminess, metallic nose, and potent ABV. More of an acquired taste, but appreciable once you unravel all the flavour properties.

Little Straw Riesling 2009 (BC, Canada)

Riesling 2009 (White) – Little Straw Vineyards, 9% ABV, (BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada)

On the back label:

“Nestled at the foot of an extinct volcano, our vineyard is home to some of the oldest vines planted in the Okanagan Valley. The volcanic soils and micro-climate allow for complete ripeness and expression of varietal character in the creation of this fine handcrafted wine.”

  • From vines planted twenty-five years ago
  • Crisp, medium dry
  • Sweet citrus and apple flavours
  • Serve chilled
  • Pair with seafoods, poultry, pork and medium cheeses

My notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: super fruity, like drinking juice
  • Who I recommend it to: non-veteran drinkers
  • Where I got it: I visited the winery back in ‘09 with some friends, made some memories, and picked up a few bottles of everything. Good times ;P
  • How much: $18.90 , 2009
  • Bottom line: thumbs up, Recommended
  • Tasting temperature: 15C

Wine Tasting Notes: lots of distinguishable pineapple, red apple, and clean citrus fruit on the nose. As expected with such a low ABV wine, it is extremely easy to pour yourself glass after glass. Tastes of grape-apple, medium green apple tartness, some pineapple, and low-medium acidity. It has a very, very clean flavour and it is just like drinking Sun-Rype apple juice with a bit of zing to it. Although it is lower in alcohol content, the ease and rate at which you can drink this WILL GET YOU THERE.

Cognac de Collection Jean Grosperrin (1980), 51.5% ABV, 70cl (Chermignac, France)

from www.cognacguide.de:

“Grande Champagne 1980 (available in February 2005)

We acquired this cognac in December 2004. This cognac comes from a Parisian widow whose husband – a highly successful magistrate – had invested in cognac for tax reasons. When he died, she discovered she was now the owner of dozens of barrels of cognac, some of which had been stored in government-controlled (ORECO) cellars for over thirty years. We bought all of them: Grande Champagne 1980, 1971, and 1970

Today this cognac is in ours (sic) cellars, and each barrel was sealed by a bailiff. We are actually reducing it with demineralised water. We will propose it at 51%. It is a beautiful cognac, which is a both light and fruity. It is very well balanced.”

How Jean Grosperrin obtains his cognacs for his company, La Gabare:

  • old small cognac producing families often store away barrels of cognac to “pass along” to future generations. Another source is from state-controlled cognac warehouses, but mainly for younger cognacs (distilled after 1975)
  • Jean Grosperrin (now his son Guilhem) acts as a broker and purchases the barrels – check official distillation date, taste, and carbon date.
  • dilute if necessary, but avoided if possible; keeping the flavourful oils
  • Motto is barrel to bottle, unblended.
  • every bottle is corked & sealed in the presence of a bailiff

Other notes:

  • cete bouteille porte le  NO: 000424, limite a 431 litres, verification le 25 Novembre 2005
  • packaged in textured corrugated cardboard, heavy based glass bottle
  • Where I got it: Chateau Louis
  • How much: $171 (after 5%), $11 per shot
  • Drinkability: Medium-Hard

Tasting Notes (Nov 17/2011)

The first cognac review and it’s a hard one to get into. 51.5% is nothing to scoff at; I can only do a mini-sip every few minutes. It pours a lighter colour than sherry-casked scotch, very “oily”, and very alcohol forward on the nose. You get mainly apricot and massive BURN on the nose. Lots of sweetness up front, and then apricot, cinnamon spice, vanilla and then an dry spicy fruit finish. Lots of tingling on the tongue, numbing on the sides of the cheeks and only minimal warmth down the throat. After about 10 sips, my mouth feels rough.

Rating as something I would often drink: D+ (messes up my mouth – 51.5% ABV!!!)

Rating as an exciting cognac: C+

Efes Dark , 6.1% ABV, (Anadolu Efes Brewery, Turkey)

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I might like it: interesting sake-like flavour
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$15 for 6pack, Spring 2011

Tasting Notes: made with malted barley and RICE! Kewl. pours coffee black, minimal head, small carbonation, minimal lacing. Smells of liquid malt on the nose, and slightly oyster/wet dog (very strange). That tropical sweet sake-like flavour comes through, mixed with a medium malt and an off-dry finish. Quite an unexpected flavour profile for such a dark beer. Not much in terms an addictive flavour or complexity, but has an interesting taste.

Glenfiddich 21YO (Scotland)

Glenfiddich 21 years old (NV), 40% ABV, (since 1887 – Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland)

On the back label:

“This Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been finished in Caribbean rum casks to take on a rich toffee sweetness with notes of vanilla and hints of new leather. Casks are sampled routinely by the Malt Master and hand selected only once he is convinced the whisky has acquired a luxurious vibrancy, whilst retaining the unmistakeable character of Glenfiddich Single Malt. Genfiddich 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been awarded a gold medal by the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition.”

Essentially the same process as the Macallan 18 year old but:

  • Natural spring water from their Robbie Dhu springs
  • Use of casks (sherry, bourbon) that have only been used once (mellowed)
  • ~2% of alcohol is lost due to evaporation into the air through the porous barrels (aka “the Angels’ share”)
  • the only distillery to use wooden oak marrying tuns (2000L=30 casks) for up to 9 months of marrying
  • “Glenfiddich is the only Highland single malt distilled, matured and even bottled at its own distillery, using a single source of spring water throughout the process.” -from their website

Other notes:

  • Where I got it: Sobey’s @ Anthony Henday near 111
  • How much: ~$120 (after 10%), $7 per shot
  • Drinkability: Medium

Tasting Notes (Nov 14/2011)

Another bottle that I barely have any left, might as well finish it off and write up some notes. Definitely more alcohol forward on the nose which I’m thinking is due to the influence of the rum cask. Hints of toffee and vanilla quaffed as well. Tingling anise hits the tip your tongue first, and then the vanillla and molasses from the Caribbean rum casks. Notes of banana, chocolate, and only a med-mild warmth mainly in the nasal cavity for a finish. Lots of tingling and numbness in the mouth and throat. A rather muted oaky exhale. I prefer the fruitier sherry finished Macallan 18 year, but this is an interesting novel experience as well to highlight the difference between a rum cask and sherry cask finish.

Rating as something I would often drink: C+

Rating as a scotch: B

The Macallan 18 years old (1989), 43% ABV, (Est. 1824 Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, Scotland)

This is Macallan’s mid-tier sherry oaked scotch, and the process:

  1. 100% barley, a proportion of which is the estate grown Minstrel barley or obtained from the 27 contractors.
  2. Water from underneath the estate close to confluence of the river Spey and Ringorm Burn
  3. Malting (Steeping 48h, Germination 5d, Kilning)
  4. Milling of the grist into: 70% grits, 20% husk, 10% flour)
  5. Mashing in 3 stages adding hot water of varying temperatures to activate enzymes to convert the starch into fermentable sugars.
  6. Fermentation by adding cultured cream yeast (MSI), 48-56h. Rate of adding yeast, rate of fermentation, and temperature of the wort all affect the final flavour.
  7. 2x Distillation in copper stills to 72% ABV (copper = wear-resistant, malleable, excellent conductor of heat, catalyst for sweet ester formation and minimizing impurities (ie. sulfur compounds))
  8. Matured in sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain + warehousing to impart flavour and colour (Colour = species of oak (Spanish Oak – open grain = dark, American Oak – tighter grain = light), the seasoning, level of toasting)
  9. Vatting – sampling of 200 different casks, selecting some 50 casks, and finally mixing them together and resting to allow for a Marriage of flavours.
  10. Bottling and dilution with estate spring water

Other notes:

  • Where I got it: Sobey’s @ Anthony Henday near 111
  • How much: ~$170 (after 10%), $10 per shot
  • Drinkability: Easy-Medium

Tasting Notes (Nov 12/2011)

Down to the last remaining 1.5oz and the bits of cork and lustrous golden hue has my attention. On the nose are bold notes of toasted caramel, fig, and sweet honey all mixed with the scary alcohol nasal-burn. Tastes of chocolate orange (as advertised), oaky dried fruit caramel, anise (tingling from the alcohol). Alcohol warmth first goes softly to the nose, and then back down to cover the back of the mouth and finally down the throat. Lots of BBQ smoke on the exhale.

Rating as something I would often drink: B-

Rating as a scotch: A-