Late Harvest Riesling 2004 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Late Harvest Riesling 2010 – Isabella Winery, 11.5% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)


on the back label:

“Rich and luxurious in texture, it unfolds with flavours of apricot and peach, balanced by firm acidity and mineral characteristics. Enjoy with light desserts or fresh fruits.”

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  • Style: (Late Harvest – Riesling) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Unbalanced unenjoyable sour astringent acidic tangy muddle white grape excessive heat/warmth
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot / Vancouver
  • How much: $18 (after 5% off) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: don’t bother

Visual: (cellared for 12 years), composite cork still intact. Pours clear golden apple juice yellow.

Nose: concentrated white grape/apple. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: big sour

Mid-palate: persistent astringent acidity, (lvl-5-sweetness), muddly peach, white grape, tangy acidity

Finish: tangy astringent big alcoholic heat, throat warmth, dry apple cider vinegar harshness

Summary: Too much alcoholic heat, deficient tropical fruity brightness for a Riesling, too much astringency in the acidity. It lacks poise and refinement. A poor effort.

Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006 (Late Harvest) (France)

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  • My Rating: [C+]

Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006, 13% ABV, 500 ml., (Notre-Dame-d’Allençon, France)


from the Domaine de Terrebrune website:

“Famous desert wine, the colour is gilded with green reflections. The nose is fine and subtle, in mouth it expresses the acacia, fern, and citrus fruits. In age the flavours change : honey, lime and stone taste with rifle. Serve it in medium temperature : 12 °C, taste it in apéritif, with a foie gras, white meats, strong cheeses, blue cheeses. A young Bonnezeaux can be serve with shellfish (lobster). The Bonnezeaux is a high-class wine of guard, sometime centenary but ten years is good enough. This wine represents the Chenin from the Loire, an outstanding wine, something very rare.”

-actually, I prefer it at room temperature, around 21°C, so that it becomes slightly more viscous and you get more deep warmth.


  • Style: (Bonnezeaux – Chenin Blanc) Late Harvest Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Tangy sweet light sour acidic apple lime honey nectarine short length
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Granville Island
  • How much: $38 CAD, (after 10% off) – 500ml., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: not worth the $$$

Visual: (2006 Vintage, cellared for 10 years). Pours clear light golden orange.

Nose: tangy citrusy sweet apple-pear. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: chilled=thin viscosity, warm=slightly thick, incoming sugars

Mid-palate: sweet-sour acidic tang, dense (lvl-7-sweetness) sugar hit, medium body, apple, lime, honey, alcohol zingy

Finish: nectarine exhale, woody throat warmth, short flavour finish

Summary: Not particularly memorable since I had a fantastic Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito yesterday [A-]. Somewhat lacking in full bodyness and length, the flavours are simplistically good but over too quickly.

Vidal Late Harvest – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Vidal Late Harvest 2006 – Isabella Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Deep straw in colour , this light, racy late harvest offers delicate aromas og gingered honey and fresh cut pears. A seamless integration of tropical fruit, pears and fresh hones is nicely balanced with good supporting acidity. Gentle on the palate, this wine can be sipped on its own or may be a delicious finale to a special meal.”

  • Style: (Vidal) Late Harvest
  • Taste: Sour watery apple cider vinegar
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $15 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Visual: When I bought this in 2013 it had already been sitting at their store for 7 years, so how good could it be? At $15 I wasn’t expecting much… Alas, it pours light golden yellow with oddly enough, static micro bubbles clinging to the side and bottom of the glass.

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Nose: apple cider vinegar with a bit of sticky champagne. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming sour-sweet

Mid-palate: watery mouthfeel, (lvl-6)-sweetness that dissipates, salty alcohol detection, (MAIN) apple cider vinegar, pear

Finish: highly sour vinegar acidity, sour white grape unclean finish.

Summary: As a dessert wine, this is pretty abysmal. It doesn’t clean the palate as it should but rather leaves you wondering what you just drank. Unbalanced, thin mouthfeel, non-delicious flavours. Not recommended. Arrowleaf’s Late Harvest Vidal is much better.

The Flame (Late Harvest Gewurztraminer) – Silver Sage Winery (Oliver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

The Flame 2008 – Silver Sage Winery, 14% ABV – 375ml, (Oliver, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A very unique combination of sweet and spice to create an aperitif wine. A true challenge for any wine lover. This wine has a rich bouquet of peach and apricot natural aromas and the unique hot pepper spice. Serve ice cold. A true seafood and meat companion. The taste that leaves you wanting more.”

  • Style: (cayenne pepper spiced) Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Aperitif wine
  • Taste: Aggressive flaming hot veggie pepper peach with stomach gurgle
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $25 – 375ml., summer of 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: no

Visual: Inside the bottle is what my best guess appears to be a cayenne pepper, still retaining most of it’s red colour except for the discoloured pale green/gray stem. Pours clear medium golden yellow, no sedimentation.

Nose: dominant pepper vegginess, with some sharp peach (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: fruity + spicy hot

Mid-palate: immediate burn, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) peach

Finish: tension on the face, minor sweats, unsettling stomach, long lingering intense spicy burning finish.

Summary: This one is a tough one to sip without a meal. Perhaps allowing the pepper to infuse for 6 years was a bad idea since the heat is way to powerful and unbalanced. I don’t recall the spiciness to be this aggressive when I tasted it at the winery. As it stands though, I can’t say I would ever have this again.

The Little Beaver Late Harvest Optima 2008 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Late Harvest Optima 2008 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 12.7% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A whiff of minerally sulfur on the nose, which leads to a soft, off-dry palate with honeyed tropical fruit character bolstered by some minerally acidity.

…A story of Our Little Beaver… Long time ago we were in our patio enjoying the beautiful view, when suddenly we saw one beaver just running and working beside our winery. The crazy beaver was building his house and he never stops. After few years his family grew up and they became a symbol for Isabella Winery. We protect the environment and our ‘petits’ friends. A ‘chante’ (they must mean enchanté)”

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  • Style: (Optima) Late Harvest
  • Taste: Apple-flavoured alcoholic water
  • How much: $14 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no!
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no!

Visual: Standard skinny frosted dessert wine bottle, genuine cork but tacky “generic” coat of arms with a lion and unicorn (lol). Also a generic VQA matte black shrink capsule. Pours clear golden yellow, clear as water.

Nose: Fruity red apple juice + white grape (6/10-pungency)

Attack: thin + watery = cheap -mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6/10)-sweetness, pineapple sourness, (MAIN) red apple, alcoholic bitterness, almost salty

Finish: alcoholic warmth, residual tang, flat bitter alcoholic finish.

Summary: This has the mouthfeel and depth of the do-it-yourself (they brew it, you bottle it) type wines at winemaker shops. Watery up front, sugars, apple, but then a quick transition to alcohol and bitterness. Almost like apple-flavoured alcoholic water. The View Optima was miles better.

Wide River Reserve Noble Late Harvest Riesling – Robertson Winery (South Africa)

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  • My Rating: B-

Wide River Reserve Noble Late Harvest Almond Grove Weisser Riesling 2001 – Robertson Winery, 9.5% ABV – 375ml., (South Africa)

  • Style: (Riesling, vintage) Late Harvest
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Park Royal
  • How much: $20 – 375ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Visual: 2001, with unique certification numbered sticker on the neck. Pours cola brown, clear with sediment and bits of the old cork that disintegrated while removing it.

Nose: Plum wine, prune juice, caramel sweetness, red grape. (9/10-pungency)

Attack: sweet & sour-acidic, watery mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (9/10)-sweetness, full-bodied sour-tanginess, (MAIN) plum, apple, red grape

Finish: sharp acidity, apple exhale, medium-sweet, light cloying fruity finish.

Summary: Not bad at all for the price. It drinks more like a naturally flavoured, no sugar added plum wine instead of a late harvest Riesling.

The Stump Jump Sticky (Late Harvest) – d’Arenberg Winery (McLaren Vale, Australia)

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  • My Rating: B+

The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay-Riesling-Semillon-Pinot Gris 2010 – d’Arenberg Winery,11.5% ABV – 375ml, (McLaren Vale, Australia)

On the back label:

“The grapes for the Stump Jump Sticky are sourced from selected Botrytis infected vineyards in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. Botrytis is a vine disease that if carefully managed removes moisture from the grapes leaving behind sugar, fruit acids and minerals resulting in a luscious sweet wine with intense concentrated fruit flavours.”

    • The winery was established in 1912, now over 100 years of winemaking experience and history. Check out the youtube vid:
  • Style: (Late Harvest-Botrytis) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: fruity red apple -> passion fruit/lemon zest/alcohol -> warm/clean fruity finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines
  • How much: $18 (but $15 on the label, overcharged?) – 375ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Visual: They state the label was inspired by an optometrist’s eye chart; interesting but the effect isn’t really there since the font on the bottom row is not much smaller than the top row, imo. Screw-cap top with high quality labeling everywhere. Pours golden apple juice yellow with minute suspended sedimentation.

Nose: Super bright & clean red apple, honey, mild floralness. (8)-aromatic strength

Attack: med-dense fruity sugars, immediate red apple

Mid-palate: (8)-sweetness, (MAIN) red apple, passion fruit, lemon zest, mild alcohol detection (hint) papaya, yellow peach.

Finish: (3)-alcohol warmth, clean dense-fruity finish

Summary: An extremely approachable and sippable wine with manageable sweetness and excellent balance. Great price point for a high quality wine that reminds me of the depth you get from Icewines. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)