Field Stone Fruit Dessert Wines (Alberta, Canada)

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Field Stone Fruit Dessert Wines (Strathmore, Alberta, Canada)

  1. Strawberry: B-
  2. Raspberry: B-
  3. Saskatoon Berry: B+

1) Strawberry Dessert Wine 2006, 11% ABV – 375ml

  • My Rating: B-

info on the Field Stone website:

“A semi-sweet dessert wine, produced from our Kent variety of strawberries. Pairs well with creamy desserts and superb over French vanilla ice cream. Excellent for sipping “on the rocks” as an aperitif.”

  • Taste Profile: bright fruity sweetness -> strawberries/alcohol -> alcohol bitterness/clean finish
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?)
  • How much: ~$18, sometime 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours slightly thicker than water viscosity, golden orange with a reddish hue. Very fragrant sugary sweet strawberries on the nose.

Attack: gentle 9/10-sweetness with a minor alcohol bitterness

Mid-palate: strawberries, lingering bitterness, mild toffee/caramel

Finish: minor alcohol bitterness, clean non-cloying finish

Very sippable because of the great balance of sweet-bitter-alcohol and the superb easy-drinking non-cloying finish.

2) Raspberry Dessert Wine 2005, 16% ABV – 375ml

  • My Rating: B-

“This premium dessert wine is made from our highest quality raspberries, producing a luscious, velvety flavour with lingering finish. Pairs well with all things chocolate as well as cheesecakes and creamier desserts. The perfect companion to chocolate fondue.”

  • Taste Profile: sweet fruity alcohol -> raspberry/cassis/raisin/tangy -> light cloying alcoholic finish.
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?)
  • How much: ~$23, sometime 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours lustrous reddish-brown. Raspberry and raspberry jam on the nose.

Attack: 9/10-sweetness up front mixed with alcohol

Mid-palate: raspberry, raspberry jam, cassis, hints of raisin, medium tang/sourness

Finish: sweet, light-med cloying, alcoholic finish.

Rich and deep with luscious raspberry flavour.

3) Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine (Fortified), 16% ABV – 375ml

  • My Rating: B+

info on the Field Stone website:

“An intense and complex flavour, this slightly heavier dessert wine is for port-lovers everywhere. Pairs well with pastries, pates and heavier cheeses.”

  • Taste Profile: fruity alcohol -> raspberry/blueberry(=saskatoonberry)/cassis/tart/sour/tang -> alcoholic/warmth/rich berry finish.
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?)
  • How much: ~$20, sometime 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours a clear light red/orange/pinkish hue. Aromas include a bouquet of raspberry, cassis, and blackberry – the sum of which equals saskatoon berry.

Attack: 8/10-fruity sweetness mixed with detectable alcohol

Mid-palate: sweet blend of raspberry/blueberry (=saskatoonberry), cassis, light tartness, medtang/tingly, medium sourness

Finish: alcoholic warmth/bitterness, rich fruity berry finish.

Quite interesting compared to the straighforward strawberry and raspberry. This one is my fav.

Innis & Gunn Highland Cask Beer (Scotland)

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  • My Rating: B

Innis & Gunn Highland Cask  (69-day matured), 7.1% ABV – 330ml, (Edinburgh, Scotland)

-this is part of their Limited Edition 3-pack which includes their branded glass

On the back label:

“This special bottling of Innis & Gunn has been matured in oak barrels which had previously been used to mature 18 year old single malt Scotch Whisky from the famed Highlands region of Scotland. The result of this unique maturation is a smooth, complex and warming beer with notes of vanilla and toffee.”

  • Style: (Highland Cask) Barrel- Aged Ale
  • Taste Profile: whiskied sweetness -> scotch/toffee/caramel -> light fizzy/honeyed malt finish
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $16/3pack +glass (after 10% off), December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark tan brown with a nice foamy head, good ringed retention, quite a few active streams. Whiskied caramel malts and strong toffee on the nose.

Attack: 7/10-sweetness, whisky aromas

Mid-palate: oaked scotch w/ alcohol, toffee, caramel malts,

Finish: light fizzy, honeyed malt finish.

Good interesting brew from I&G, this one is a winner.

Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale (England)

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  • My Rating: B-

Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale, 5.1% ABV – 550ml, (Belgium)

  • Style: Fruit Ale
  • Taste Profile: creamy fruity sweet -> tangy/strawberry/malt bitter -> clean fruity light bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Firefly (?)
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off), sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes and non-beer drinkers alike

Tasting notes: pours cloudy marmalade orange with a large foamy head, sticky lacing, good retention. Fruity sour-sweet strawberry jam on the nose.

Attack: dense 8/10-sweetness, silky-creamy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light-med tang, strawberry jam, med-malty bitterness

Finish: clean fruity light bitter finish

Becomes progressively sweeter. Clean flavours & texture, very drinkable.

Chapeau Abricot Lambic Beer (Belgium)

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  • My Rating: C+

Chapeau Abricot Lambic – Brouwerij De Troch, 3.5% ABV – 375ml, (Belgium)

Ingredients on the back label: water, malt, wheat, hop, yeast, sugar, flavour, apricot (20%)

  • Style: Fruit Lambic
  • Taste Profile: fruity sweetness -> apricot/light tart/sour/cork -> light cloying finish.
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off), May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: sure if it’s on sale
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: more for non-beer drinkers

Tasting notes: pours transluscent dull orange with almost no head and no retention, sedimentation that looked like tiny bugs, or husks of some sort (??). Very fragrant fruity apricot on the nose.

Attack: light fruity 8/10-sweetness, very mild fizz

Mid-palate: apricot, light tartness, light sourness/tang, woodiness, cork

Finish: clean finish, light cloying

Quite basic and straightforward. Drinks much like smooth soda.

Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel 2005 (California, USA)

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  • My Rating: B+

Late Harvest Zinfandel 2005 – Dashe Cellars, 14.1% ABV – 375ml, (Dry Creek Valley, California, USA)

(2005 = Sugar at harvest 40° brix, residual sugar 9% by wt.)

info on the dashecellars.com website:

“Made entirely from grapes grown on the shallow, rocky soils of this steep vineyard, the environment makes the vines struggle to survive, which in turn help the vines create very concentrated, complex grapes.  One of the reasons that we love this vineyard for Late Harvest zinfandel is the wonderful acidity of the grapes.  Even when we wait an extra four weeks or so to harvest the grapes (the average time that we need to leave the grapes to have them turn into Late Harvest) the grapes maintain their acidity.  The resulting wine is always focused and clear—it’s never cloying, and always finishes with a crisp, clean, sweet-spicy note.”

  • Style: Late Harvest (Zinfandel)
  • Taste Profile: deep sweetness -> cherry/cassis/plum/chocolate -> alcoholic/tannic finish.
  • Where I got it : Chateau Louis (Edmonton)
  • How much: $31 (after 5% off), September 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: possibly in the late future
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: 100% yes

Tasting notes: pours deep dark opaque luscious red. Tangy red cherries, cassis, red grape on the nose

Attack: oncoming sugars, soft alcohol detection, 8/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: rich red cherry, black currant, plum, hints of chocolate,

Finish: mildly alcoholic, medium tannic.

Superb balance of flavours, sweetness, drinkability, and price. I would wholeheartedly recommend it and drink again.

Stiegl Radler Grapefruit Beer (Austria)

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  • My Rating: C+

Stiegl Radler Grapefruit, 2.5% ABV – 330ml, (Salzburg, Austria)

On the back label:

“Half Stiegl-Goldbrau and half fruit soda from purely natural ingredients for an outstanding low alcohol thirst-quencher. Cloudy appearance due to the added fruit juices including natural grapefruit juice. Part of beer 50%, part of fruit soda 50%. Contains barley malt.”

  • Style: Shandy
  • Taste Profile: fizzy sweetness -> fruity grapefruit/light tart/mild malts/grapefruit peel -> clean lightly sweetened grapefruity finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $3 (after 10% off), September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not quite; it’s mainly for non-beer drinkers

Tasting notes: pours mildly cloudy opulent golden orange, almost no head, thin ringed retention, active streams along the perimeter. Bold, sweet and tangy grapefruit on the nose.

Attack: fizzy, oncoming 8/10-fruity sweetness

Mid-palate: light-med tart, juicy grapefruit, very mild smooth bitter malts, hints of bitter grapefruit peel

Finish: burpy, clean sweet with a very light lingering grapefruity finish.

Drinks much more like a soda than a beer. Not very complex but not intended to be. Quite drinkable but not exciting.

Absolut Citron (SWE) VS. Skyy Infusions Citrus (USA) – Citrus Vodka Round 2

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Here we have Round 2 of the citrus vodka battle, with the Round 1 winner Absolut Vodka up against the challenger Skyy Infusions Citrus.

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) Skyy Infusions Citrus – 35% ABV – 750ml, USA, ~$27 CAD

  • 4x column distilled, 3x filtered, reverse osmosis
  • vodka infused with sun-ripened ingredients

Criteria:

Nose: The newcomer Skyy has an amazing full-bodied bouquet of a nose, exhibiting the aromas of lemon zest, lemon oil, and a touch of the pulp when freshly squeezed. The nose of the Absolut is rather, well chemical in comparision; the alcohol is much more detectable and covers most of the lemon scent. Hands down the winner is Skyy Citrus.

Taste: With such a promising nose on the Skyy, the taste should be equally as luscious. It doesn’t disappoint. Its entry is soft and rounded, medium-sweet with the tingly-light tangy citrus warmth kicking in the mids until the finish. The alcohol is soft and never invasive.  Absolut drinks much sweeter and aggressive flavouring in all aspects – bolder but more artificial citrus, more vodka wheatiness, stronger alcohol burn and warmth, and rougher finish. In picking a winner based on enjoyability and balance, a new champion has been crowned in Skyy Infusions Citrus.

Final Notes:

  • Absolut has bolder artificial-tasting flavour, aggressive and alcohol. Not as good as Skyy.
  • Skyy has better smoothness, authenticity of citrus flavour, and drinkability. This will work better with cocktails that require balance and finesse.