Mission Hill Riesling 2007 (Canada)

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  • My Rating: D+

Reserve 2007 Riesling – Mission Hill Winery,13.0% ABV – 750ml, (Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada)

On back label:

“This is a rich, plus and refined wine. Subtle notes of white peach and verbena combine gracefully with a hint of nutmeg. Perfect integration and balance are completed with terrific length.”

  • Style: Riesling
  • Taste Profile: Fruity acidity -> nasty salty/sour/citrus/peach -> alcohol/salty/rough finish.
  • Where I got it: at the winery
  • How much: ~$19, Summer 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: NO
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: NO

Tasting notes: 2007! and it’s already 2013 so I figure I should drink it. Anyways, pours clear light yellow. Fruity citrus with hints of peach on the nose. Drinks with 6/10-heavy acidity, almost SALTY, medium tang/sourness, transitions into 5/10-sweetness, mild citrus, hints of peach and nutmeg (I guess…), all with alcohol in the background, finishing with that lingering SALTINESS. Man I can’t get past that dense salt-like flavour. Maybe it’s because I’m eating it with chow mein which isn’t all that salty btw. Finish is jagged and not all that clean. Cannot recommend and do not like.

Scaldis Blond Triple – Brasserie Dubuisson (Belgium)

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Scaldis Blond Triple (aka Bush Blond Triple) – Brasserie Dubuisson,10.5% ABV – 750ml, (Pipaix, Belgium)

On back label:

“Scaldis Blond Triple offers real finesse and a marvellously balanced taste. Its natural re-fermentation in the bottle gives it fizz and fullness. Brewed with : water drawn from beneath the Brewery, barleymalt, sugar, hops and yeast.”

  • Style: Blond Triple
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Creamy/sweet/alcohol -> malts/caramel/citrus/honey/peach -> smooth off-dry finish.
  • Where I got it : W.16th
  • How much: ~$18 (after 10% disc), November 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours translucent golden orange with suspended lees, a wonderfully thick pillowy head, very thick and sticky lacing, some visible streams. Inviting sweet floral malts on the nose. Drinks with a mainly creamy/light fizzy mouthfeel, subdued alcohol in the background mixed with building 9/10-sweetness, main flavours of malts, caramel, hints of citrus, honey, peach, with wheat and yeast overtones, finishing smooth, light malty and off-dry. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, decent drinkability. Creeper effect as you might expect from a smooth 10.5% ABV beer.

Absolut Citron (SWE) VS. Smirnoff Citrus (USA) – Citrus Vodka Round 1

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Today I’ll be versusing (yes it’s a real word) two closely priced flavored vodkas. Non-blind because I can’t pour with my eyes closed. I’m sure both don’t need any special introduction so here are the specs:

1) Absolut Citron – 40% ABV – 750ml, Sweden, ~$27 CAD

  • continuous distillation, winter wheat
  • Ingredients: vodka, natural citrus flavour (how?) (Note: lime is also added according to their website)

VS

2) Smirnoff Citrus – 35% ABV – 750ml, USA, ~$27 CAD

  • 3x distilled, 10x filtered
  • Ingredients: vodka, glycerin (sweetener/thickener) , natural flavor (say what?)

Criteria:

Nose: The Absolut exhibits a clean tingly lemon oil scent that kind of reminds me of Vim toilet cleaner, and just a hint of alcohol detection. The Smirnoff has a more lemon candyesque nose that is noticeably “bolder” and “wider”. Comparing both to the actual lemon in my hand, the winner is Absolut Citron.

Taste: With Absolut, I get a numb tongue, medium throat burn, slight nasal burn, medium warmth, flavour is half lemon peel/lime peel, medium smooth. And the Smirnoff I get a very watery start, creeping tingly alcohol mixed with jagged lemon oil mids, low-med burn (smoother), yuckier flavour, aspartame roughness in the mouth, and cleaner finish. Verdict: both suck aka not to my godly standards, but if I had to pick a winner it’d be Absolut Citron.

Final Notes:

  • Absolut has better flavour, fullness, and balance. Good in a cocktail.
  • Smirnoff has better smoothness, and shotability (yes a word). Good for happy time.

PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale – North Coast Brewing (USA)

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PranQster – North Coast Brewing, 7.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Fort Bragg, California, USA)

On bottle neck label:

“Belgian ales represent the height of the brewers’ art, with sophisticated brewing techniques, yeast blends, and unique flavorings. PranQster follows in this tradition using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produces a floral nose, full fruity flavor, and clean finish.”

  • Style: (Belgian-style) Strong Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Sweet wheaty malts -> fizzy/tangerine/yeast/coriander/SALT -> alcohol/clean finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$14/6pack, December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours almost clear light pale orange, very small head, thin ringed retention, lots of active streams. A very citrus-lemon/orange nose with hints of wheat. Drinks with a  6/10-sweet maltiness up front, quite fizzy/light creamy mouthfeel, tastes of light tangerine, wheat-beer like wheatiness, coriander, almost-SALTY (strange) in the mids, yeasty, mild peach, finishing med-alcoholic and clean light-malty. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. Can’t say I like or am impressed by this one.

Volcanic Hills Pinor Noir & Zweigelt Icewine (Canada)

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Some interesting facts about Icewine:

  • A bottle of Royal DeMaria (CAN) 2000 Chardonnay icewine sold for $30,000, and now it is selling for $250,000. (no joke)
  • It takes about 3-4.5kg depending on the varietal to make one 375ml bottle of icewine – conversely, the same amount yields 6-7x in table wine.
  • There is such thing as counterfeit icewine – from China

1) Volcanic Hills Pinot Noir 2009 Icewine (VQA), 10.0% ABV – 200ml, (West Kelowna, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“Since 1978 my family and I have been growing grapes in the Okanagan Valley. Our winery is situated on the south eastern slope of a 60 million year old dormant volcano – Boucherie Mountain., which inspired the name ‘Volcanic Hills’. 100% estate grown, our Pinot Noir Icewine displays aromas and flavours of figs, raisins, molasses and maple syrup, followed by a rich, nutty finish. Pair it with fruit compote and cream, cheese and fruit plates or creme brulee. Serve at 4-6C.”

  • Style: (Pinot Noir) Icewine
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: Sweet raisins/figs/maple syrup -> cassis/alcohol -> smooth clean finish.
  • Where I got it: Central City Liquor
  • How much: $21 (after 10% off), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: NO
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: YES

Tasting notes: pours golden light copper orange and a thickish viscosity. Inviting lush-sugary raisin/fig on the nose. Oh my this drinks with a light-syrupy viscosity which clings over-so-slightly to the inside of your mouth, gentle 9/10-sweetness, not cloying, tastes of red raisins, figs, light maple syrup (all 3 as advertised), cassis, finishing smooth and clean. Medium complexity, med-depth, very good sippability. Luscious and balanced body.

2) Volcanic Hills Zweigelt 2010 Icewine (VQA), 10.5% ABV – 200ml, (West Kelowna, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“Since 1978 my family and I have been growing grapes in the Okanagan Valley. Our winery is situated on the south eastern slope of a 60 million year old dormant volcano – Boucherie Mountain., which inspired the name ‘Volcanic Hills’. 100% estate grown, our Zweigelt Icewine displays rich sultana raisin, fig, citrus peel and caramel. Try it with blue veined cheeses, fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and walnuts, or dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Serve at 4-6C.”

  • Style: (Zweigelt) Icewine
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Sweet fruity raisin
  • Where I got it: Central City Liquor
  • How much: $24 (after 10% off), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: NO
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: YES

Tasting notes: pours a blush rosé colour. Light sugary-sweet red grapes on the nose. Drinks with a progressive 10/10-sugary-sweetness (tingling teeth sensitivity), sharp cloying in the mids, fruity raisin up front (brighter and not as deep as Vin Santos), fig, sour cherry, finishing sugary sweet with medium warmth, med-deep richness, and slightly alcoholic. Medium complexity, med depth, good transitions, okay drinkability. Not quite as enjoyable as the Pinot Noir above, but still good.

La Frenz Rosé 2009 (Canada)

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La Frenz Rosé 2009, 12.0% ABV – 750ml, (Penticton, BC, Canada)

from the La Frenz website:

“This dark salmon pink rosé is brimming with a kaleidoscope of red fruits including freshly picked strawberries and cranberries. Enjoy chilled with salmon and fresh summer salads.”

  • Style: (Vintage) Rosé
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: fruity strawberry/acidity -> herbacious cranberry/tart/sour -> warm alcoholic finish.
  • Where I got it: Direct website order
  • How much: $18, Aug 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to rosé wine aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours light cranberry red with a pinkish hue. Alcoholic sour strawberries on the nose. Drinks with the fruity strawberries as advertised, 6/10-acidic sourness, light herbaciousness, cranberry aroma and 7/10-tartness, 3-10/sweetness, finishing with a lingering tart/sour off-dry, warm alcoholic finish. Medium complexity, med depth, good transitions, decent drinkability. An easy-going wine.

Dutschke Ivy Blondina 2004 White Muscat (Australia)

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Ivy Blondina 2004 White Muscat (discontinued) – Dutschke Winery, 15% ABV – 375ml, (Lyndoch, South Australia)

On the back label:

“Ivy Blondina Semmler, Oscar’s wife, Ken’s mother and my grandmother, was a wonderfully generous woman who gave us all tremendous support and inspiration. We though it quite fitting that we dedicate this refreshing fruity wine to ‘Ivy Blondina’.

White Muscat grapes from our family vineyard at Lyndoch were used to produce this wine. With generous citrus and tropical fruit characters, it is best appreciated as a young wine and served chilled. Enjoy this wine as we have enjoyed producing it.”

  • Style: (fortified) Dessert Wine
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Deep fruit/sour/sweetness/alcohol -> peach/red apple/pineapple ->alcohol/warmth/clean finish.
  • Where I got it: Bin 104 (Edmonton, AB)
  • How much: ~$25, Sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear golden light yellow. Strong fruity peach/apricot/lychee aroma on the nose. Hits you with a deep fruit, 5/10-sour, tangy acidity up front, 8/10-sweetness mixed with alcohol, fading into peach, red apple, pineapple, ending with more alcohol, mild warming/tongue tingly, mildly sticky, clean finish. Medium complexity, med depth, good transitions, decent carry, quite sippable. Clean and more elegant compared to crappier/basic dessert wines I’ve tried.

Penpont Ginger Beer (UK)

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Ginger Beer – Penpont, 4.2% ABV – 500ml, (Altarnun, Cornwall, UK)

On the back label:

“Our alcoholic ginger beer is a traditionally made, fiery refreshing take on this drink.”

  • Style: Ginger Beer
  • My Rating: D
  • Taste Profile: Artificial sweetner/rough mouthfeel -> spicy ginger/lemongrass -> rough mouthwash-like spicy/mint finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6, November 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way

Tasting notes: pours clear light copper brown with no head, no retention, and almost no activity – very uninviting. Authentic and somewhat candied ginger on the nose. Drinks with a kind of disgusting aspartame/sucralose (artificial sweetener) 5/10-sweetness up front, very rough mouthfeel, transitioning into a med-spicy ginger, partial lemongrass, finishing with a mouthwash like minty-burn and artificial sweetnener roughness on the tongue and mouth. Low complexity, low depth, okay transitions, no good carry, awful drinkability. Stay clear of this one – not total crap, but still crappy nonetheless.

Grimbergen (Belgium)

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Grimbergen (draft) (Belgium) Rating : C+ Notes : pours root beer brown on draft, very small head, sticky lacing. Trace malts on the nose. Drinks with 7/10-sweetess, tastes of malts, cane sugar, light caramel, light fruitiness, somewhat thin on the body, finishing malty and light bitter. Low-med complexity, low-med depth, good transitions, okay carry, decent drinkability. Kind of a letdown considering it’s rare where I’m from.

Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2008 (USA)

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Elysium Black Muscat 2008 – Quady Winery, 15% ABV – 375ml, (Madera, California, USA)

from the Quady website:

“Elysium – Black Muscat, another under appreciated muscat variety, is known in Europe as a table grape variety, Muscat Hamburg, one of the very few black skinned muscats. If ripened to about 25 brix, it attains a rose-like aroma and litchi like flavor. This rose-like aroma led us to name the wine Elysium, Greek for heaven. Drinking this, you can almost feel you have fallen into a rose garden and been transported to heaven.

Elysium is used to either accompany or replace dessert. It is wonderful with blue cheeses, with desserts containing red fruits (such as Summer Pudding, an English favorite), with vanilla, with dark chocolate, with ice cream desserts, and candlelight. One favorite is to pour the wine onto vanilla ice cream. Serve Elysium Sundae with a glass of Elysium.

A very cool cocktail is the “Angeli Cooler”. Fill a wine glass with ice cubes. Combine tonic water with Elysium (1/2 and 1/2) and a lemon wedge. The Angeli Cooler is perfect on those warm summer nights.”

  • Style: (fortified) Dessert Wine
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Grape sweetness -> black currant/litchi/rose/concord grape -> alcohol/sweet/tannic finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

2nd Tasting notes: pours clear luscious deep dark magenta. Black currant and alcohol on the nose. Drinks with a med-heavy, gently dissipating sugary 10/10-sweetness (10-sweetness BCLC), aromas of black currant, rose, litchi, concord grape, transitioning into grape-brandy alcohol, finishing mildly sugary cloying, medium tannic and alcoholic. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, decent carry, decent drinkability. Pretty one-noted and basic; would be suitable as a mixer.

1st Tasting (Feb/2012), 2006 bottling:

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I don’t like it: the sweetness overwhelms the palate
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $16, 375ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours dark concord grape purple, some sediment in the bottle, thicker than water viscosity. Concord grape, litchi, and discernible alcohol on the nose. 10/10 on the sweetness scale and starts immediately upon sipping, litchi/purple grape mixed with alcohol, rose, and ends cloying and alcoholic. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, low-medium length. The sweetness kills most of the flavour and experience.

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I don’t like it: the sweetness overwhelms the palate
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $16, 375ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours dark concord grape purple, some sediment in the bottle, thicker than water viscosity. Concord grape, litchi, and discernible alcohol on the nose. 10/10 on the sweetness scale and starts immediately upon sipping, litchi/purple grape mixed with alcohol, rose, and ends cloying and alcoholic. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, low-medium length. The sweetness kills most of the flavour and experience.