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.

Marnier Lapostolle – Pineau des Charentes (France)

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  • My Rating: B+

Pineau des Charentes – Marnier Lapostolle (Grand Marnier), 18% ABV – 750ml, (Jarnac, France)

from the Grand Marnier website:

“Pineau Des Charentes Marnier® is a local fortified wine made only in the Cognac region by passionate people. This is the kind of “jewel” known only to the globetrotting connoisseur, yet it deserves to be better known. The House of Grand Marnier®, historically established in the heart of Cognac region at the Château de Bourg-Charente, follows that local tradition in making Pineau Des Charentes according to the highest quality standards. Following a secret process, grapes grown exclusively in the Cognac region undergo fermentation which is stopped by the addition of cognac. The product is then aged at length in French oak casks to give complexity.”

-So basically, Pineau des Charentes = fortified wine = fresh pressed (same day as picked) GRAPE JUICE + COGNAC and then aged in oak barrels.

-typically made with Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Colombard, and sometimes with Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc and Montils (wiki).

  • Style: (fortified wine) Pineau des Charentes
  • Taste Profile: sweet alcohol -> sour apricot/white grape -> oaked cognac/almond/warm sweet finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $22, sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: not this producer but different one
  • Would I recommend this to fortified wine aficionados: positively

Visual: Nice label w/ gold medal Bruxelles awarded in 1984. Quality foil-sealed top with easy-pull tab plus what appears to be a real cork resealable stopper; all screams high quality. Pours golden yellow with runny legs.

Nose: light white grape, red apple, dried prune

Attack: Bright dense 9/10-sweetness, subdued alcohol detection

Mid-palate: medium sourness, apricot, white grape, eau-de-vie ‘airiness’

Finish: (very nice) OAKED cognac backbone, almond, nasal and then throat long warm finish.

Summary: At around $20 this is a steal!!! Superb packaging quality, depth of flavour, sippability, and roundness. That oaked Cognac backbone just hooks you in, but the sweetness kind of weighs on you if you have more than a glass. This is a MUST-TRY for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of sipping a Pineau des Charentes. Now I’m curious what the Red/Rosé Pineaus taste like.