Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay (Washington, USA)

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  • My Rating: C+

Chardonnay 2002 – Chateau Ste. Michelle (Columbia Valley), 13.5% ABV – 750ml., (Woodinville, WA, USA)

On the back label:

“Our Columbia Valley Chardonnay is rich in character with additional complexity and balance attained by barrel fermentation. Aging sur lie in French oak results in a full-bodied wine and enhances the flavors of ripe apple, pear, and citrus fruit.”

  • Style: (white wine,) Chardonnay, oak-aged
  • Taste: fruity sugars -> apple/pear -> mild-tangy/off-dry fruity finish.
  • Where I got it : ??? (likely a gift 10+ years ago…)
  • How much: ~$15-20 – 750ml., sometime in…2003?
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: (no longer available, now they have Chardonnays from distinct vineyards)

Visual: 2002!!? A 12-year old white wine that benefited 0.1% from aging in my cellar. It wasn’t my intention to leave it for so long but I just never got around to opening it. Anyways, pours medium-light golden yellow, clear as water.

Nose: Fruity & ripe red apple and Barlett pears. (4/10-pungency)

Attack: controlled sugars, light acidity, orchard fruity aromas

Mid-palate: (3/10)-sweetness, light-tangy acidity, (MAIN) apple, pear (hint) lemon/lime

Finish: hints of saltiness, solid acidic/tang/citrus/off-dry follow through.

Summary: A decent table wine, an all-around easy sipper, chugger, and meal-wine. No highs or lows, just an easy cruise.

Miller Genuine Draft – Miller Brewing (Milwaukee, WI, USA)

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  • My Rating: D-

Miller Genuine Draft – Miller Brewing, 4.7% ABV – 355ml, (Milwaukee, WI, USA)

from Wikipedia:

“Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) was introduced in 1985 as the original cold filtered packaged draft beer, which means that the beer is not pasteurized. MGD received the gold medal in the American-style Premium Lager category at the 1999 World Beer Cup. It also received the silver medal at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. The concept for cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft was developed by product consultant Calle & Company. Martin Calle evolved the concept from Miller’s New Ventures effort to launch a new dry beer at a time Miller Brewing was in danger of becoming a much-cloned light beer manufacturer. Originally introduced as “Miller High Life Genuine Draft”, the “High Life” part of the name was soon dropped. MGD is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life but with a different treatment. It was developed to give High Life drinkers the same taste in a can or bottle as they found in non-pasteurized kegs. It has 4.7% abv”

  • Style: Lager
  • Taste: sharp crispness -> barley malt/cereal -> thin malty sweet/rough off-dry metallic finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $24 – 12x355ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no!

Visual: Big beer company, now joined with Molson and Coors. Seems like a chugging/hot pot beer to me. Pours clear golden yellow with a small dissipating head, thin layer of retention, several slow spread out streams.

Nose: a bit of apple but mainly light barley grain. (3)-aromatic strength.

Attack: sharp crispness mixed with light barley (4)-sweetness.

Mid-palate: (MAIN) barley, cereal grain

Finish: thin malty sweet finish, palate off-dry rough metallic finish.

Summary: Absolutely zero depth and not much flavour other than the cereal barely malt. It goes okay with Chinese salty meal since it’s light flavour basically acts like water in cleaning the palate, quenching thirst, and partially accentuating lingering residual flavours. Terrible on its own though. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Siamese Twin Ale – Uncommon Brewers (Santa Cruz, CA, USA)

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  • My Rating: B+

Siamese Twin Ale – Uncommon Brewers, 8.5% ABV – 16 fl.oz. (1 PT), (Santa Cruz, California, USA)

printed on the side:

“There’s a long tradition in Belgian brewing of using exotic spices to enhance a beer’s flavor. Although many have been used, CORIANDER is undoubtedly the king. In tribute to this heritage we present to you our Siamese Twin Ale.

It is a traditional Belgian-style Double seasoned with CORIANDER and entirely uncommon Thai spices. At first surprising, the floral notes of LEMONGRASS and sharper bite of KAFFIR LIME blend with the deep malt of this double to produce a dangerously drinkable beer.

Served alongside a fiery curry or enjoyed on its own, the Twin brings a taste of the tropics to every occasion. And who doesn’t need a taste of the tropics every now and then.”

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  • Style: Spiced Ale (Dubbel)
  • Taste Profile: creamy malts -> caramel malts/chamomile -> kaffir lime/lemongrass/coriander/malty-tangy finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $4 (after 10% off), December 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: possibly
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes for sure

Visual: Enticing ingredients but in a can… At least I already know this will be good based on their Baltic Porter and Golden State Ale. Pours cloudy dark mahogany brown with a small micro CO2 head, thin retention and some active streams.

Nose: Sweet caramel malts, with a hint of lime zest (7/10-strength)

Attack: fizzy-creamy, underlying lime sourness(3/10)

Mid-palate: (MAIN) sweet(9/10) caramel malts, chamomile

Finish: lemongrass + kaffir lime peel exhale, coriander dryness, alcoholic kick, malty-sweet light tangy finish.

Summary: A rather smooth brew but gets imbalanced toward the sweet side as it warms. I love the complexity that keeps it interesting with every sip and the creeper alcoholic effect.

Dark Meddle – Gigantic Brewing Co (Portland, OR, USA)

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  • My Rating: C+

Dark Meddle – Gigantic Brewing Co, 5.9% ABV – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Portland, OR, USA)

On the front side label:

“Our crafty homage to the Vienna-style lager brewed by our favorite Mexican Grupo. A malty, full-flavored, dark brew, made extra-smooth with piloncillo cane sugar. Unleash your next luchador!”

  • Style: Vienna Lager
  • Taste Profile: sugar cane sweetness -> creamy/malts/cane sugar/caramel -> hoppy bitterness/bittersweet malty finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off), July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50 – solid but not outstanding

Visual: cartoonish artwork for a wth is this moment; a quick look a the label includes piloncillo cane sugar, basically whole unrefined cane sugar (below-via wiki). Pours medium dark translucent brown with a smallish head, layer of micro CO2 retention, lots and lots of active streams.

Panela

Nose: pretty muted nose, only malts

Attack: 7/10-cane sugar sweetness, crispness, underlying bitter hops

Mid-palate: creamy-fizzy mouthfeel, light toastiness, MALTS, CANE SUGAR, brown sugar, caramel

Finish: mild hoppy bitterness kicks in, bittersweet malty-caramel finish.

Summary: Pretty straightforward flavour profile with no twists or surprises. Well-crafted and solid. I look forward to reviewing other beers from Gigantic in the future.

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, USA)

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  • My Rating: C+

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 5.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, OR, USA)

On the front side label:

“You pair wheat, hops and Belgian yeast and suddenly ‘bingo, a wheat like nobody else’s.’ With real depth, coriander and sweet orange peel, it’s citrus-packed and silky smooth going down.”

  • Style: (wheat & spiced) IPA
  • Taste Profile: banana malt -> sour citrus/grapefruit/barnyard -> coriander/pepper/dense malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15/6pack, June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy light yellow with a smallish dissipating head, a soft layer of retention, lacing, and some barely visible activity. Wheaty banana and guava with a bit of barnyard on the nose.

Attack: tangy malted banana

Mid-palate: 6/10-citrus sourness, white grapefruit, hints of barnyard, 6/10-sweetness

Finish: cuts to off-dry, bitter coriander, mild pepperiness, lingering dense sugars with a wheat-malt background.

Lots of interesting flavours here balanced with fine drinkability. I’m not a huge fan of IPAs but this one is acceptable.

Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale – Elysian Brewing (Seattle, USA)

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  • My Rating: B-

Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale – Elysian Brewing, 5.4% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Seattle, WA, USA)

  • Style: (Blood Orange) Pale Ale
  • Taste Profile: crisp silky/creamy -> fruity orange/grapefruit peel/malt -> harsh grapefruity bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : W.16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $15/6pack (after 10% off), June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: not exactly
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours translucent marmalade orange with a very small head, barely any retention, and not much activity. Fragrant orange and grapefruit on the nose – very fruity and inviting.

Attack: crisp, half silky/half creamy, oncoming sharp bitterness

Mid-palate: fruity 5/10-sweet orange, grapefruit peel, malts, hints of pine

Finish: long lingering grapefruity-hopped intense bitter finish

Overall very balanced, drinkable, and a good-textured beer, but also quite aggressive with the hopped bitter finish.

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.