Chardonnay Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: D+ (bad P:E, price:enjoyability)

Chardonnay Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery, 13% ABV – 375 ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada) (*local BC icewine*)

on the back label:

“This fresh Icewine Chardonnay is buttery and smooth nectar of richness demonstrates good balance, and exhibits flavors of ripe apple, apricot, melon and lemon zest. A hint of oak vanilla, toasted marshmallow aromas round out the robust yet gentle mouthfeel.”

  • Style: (Chardonnay) Icewine
  • Taste: Tangy red apple apricot soft sour crisp short length basic flavour
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $71 (after 15% off) – 375 ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: never

Visual: (cellared for at least 7 years), real cork partially disintegrated upon uncorking. Pours apple juice yellow with a slight orange shade, crystal clear.

Nose: apple juice, Welch’s white grape, light sweet acidity. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: incoming sweet juicy tangy

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), red apple, almost salty, tangy alcohol, very mild heat, apricot, watery viscosity

Finish: soft sour, residual medium tangy apricot-grape

Summary: Lol this is what you call impulse spending on liquor – buy the whole 20+ bottle lineup, review them all for blog, and check the bill later. In any case, another DNB, waste of money dessert wine from Isabella. Way too thin and basic apple flavour straight out of the fridge; Luckily the acidity kicks in as it warms and you get more tangy apricot in the backend. Still, a turd is a turd even if you cellar for 7 years it. Drinkable, but after feeling swindled.

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


  • 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.”


  • 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.

Wild Goose Riesling 2010 (Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: [B-]

Riesling (God’s Mountain Vineyard) – Wild Goose Vineyards, 13.6% ABV – 750ml, (Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine)

on the back label:

“God’s mountain Vineyard is one of the most spectacular and rugged sites in the Okanagan. Grown in clay and sand solids, their roots esconced in deep gravel deposits, these 18 year-old vines are meticulously tended using biodynamic growing techniques. The result is a smaller but more concentrated fruit, floral, clover, apple and mineral flavours with clean citrus notes. This dry wine pairs beautifully with cheeses, chicken, pork, and seafood.”


  • Style: (vintage, Riesling) White Wine
  • Taste: Tangy fruity citrus apple acidity sour-puckery tart minerality
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $23 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to white wine lovers:

Visual: Screw-top cap. Pours very light sunshine yellow.

Nose: red and green apple, hints of soapy pear. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: white wine citrus acidity

Mid-palate: pronounced tangy acidity, light sour green apple, (lvl-1-sweetness), soft bright minerality

Finish: stealth alcohol throat warmth, tart-puckery, white grapey exhale

Summary: Decently drinkable, but not remarkably memorable. A good sipper.

Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: FAIL

Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery, 9.6% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

-having already tried their Pinot Noir, 3-in-1, Zweigelt, Merlot Pinot Noir icewines, I pretty much already knew this one is going to be a dud. It’s for educational purposes I say.

on the back label:

“The aroma of Cabernet Franc comes forth along with simmering red berry fruit. An initial burst of sweetness, then strawberry jam flavours. Pairs nicely with your favourite’s: Chocolate Cake, Crème Brule, or Apple Pie and a wedge of Sharp Cheddar Cheese.”


  • Style: (Cabernet Franc) Icewine
  • Taste: Syrupy Ribena cassis sweet cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $89 – 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 5 years, cork still intact. Pours orangish-maple, crystal clear.

Nose: tangy blackberry-cassis, mild alcohol detection (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: thick-syrupy viscosity, incoming sugars

Mid-palate: dense (lvl-10)-sweetness, medium tangy, (MAIN) cassis, red table grape

Finish: Ribena-like concentrated syrupy sweetness, alcoholic bitter, alcoholic throat warmth, sugar rush, tangy finish.

Summary: Two words: Rip Off. Extremely overpriced for a garbage product. IMO this stuff is aimed at the unenlightened Chinese tourist looking for a pricey “Icewine” gift to bring home. If you want a decent red icewine try Volcanic Hill’s instead. The second glass in, reaction: “Why am I drinking this? It’s like drinking Ribena mixed with a teaspoon of Vodka – Incoming sugar headeache – too f*cking sweet.”

White Bear Riesling 2010 (Oliver, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: [C-]

Riesling 2010 – White Bear Wines, 12.5% ABV, 750ml, (Oliver, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“BC’s Great Bear Rainforest is 21 million acres and is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world. It is home to grizzly bears, coastal wolves, salmon and the rare white Kermode or ‘Spirit’ Bear, which exists nowhere in the world besides this rainforest. Protecting habitat of this ‘umbrella’ species will protect many other species. A globally significant conservation effort is underway so that this rainforest can thrive for future generations.”


  • Style: (White wine) Riesling
  • Taste: Sour sustained dry acidic green apple lime
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store (Van)
  • How much: $14 (after 10% off) – 750ml., May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados:

Visual: Screw-top cap. Pours clear light yellow, lots of micro bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: green apple, honey dew, tingly acidity (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: mouth-flooding acidity

Mid-palate: (lvl-2), (MAIN) green apple, lime

Finish: sustained sour-acidity, thicken saliva.

Summary: Too much acidity and not enough inviting fruitiness. There are many other Rieslings I’d much prefer to have than this.

Calliope Riesling 2010 (BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: [C]

Riesling 2010, 13% ABV, 750ml, (Oliver, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Calliope (ka-LIE-oh-pee) wine embodies the freedom a beauty of its two namesakes: B.C.’s tiniest hummingbird, and the Greek Muse of Eloquence. Calliope is an escape from tradition; winemakers are empowered to utilize their creative talents to explore new taste profiles and expressive, fresh characteristics in each variety. The nose on this lively Riesling smacks of luscious orange blossoms, with hints of peach and pear. Bright acidity and ripe grapefruit refresh the palate. The perfect choice with Lemongrass BBQ Pork.”


  • Style: (White wine) Riesling
  • Taste: Sour acidic tangy fruity apple/pear
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off) – 750ml., May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: can’t say I do

Visual: Screw-top cap. Pours clear light yellow.

Nose: Acidic tangy, pear, light muscat. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: fruity acidity

Mid-palate: medium puckery sour, (MAIN) lime, stonefruit, apple/pear, (lvl-3)-sweetness covered by the acidity.

Finish: grapefruity semi-sweet acidic finish.

Summary: Pretty standard, nothing that notable. Decent body and acidity.

Pinot Noir Special Reserve Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: D+

Pinot Noir Special Reserve 2004 – Isabella Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

(it’s over 10 years old, but is it any good…?)

on the back label:

“Exceptionally exquisite this red icewine, with amber hues, delivers intense flavours of strawberries, dried apricots and honey. Rich in texture, it is best served chilled, on its own or with vanilla ice cream.”


  • Style: (Pinor Noir) Icewine
  • Taste: unelegant sugary strawberry/grape alcoholic
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $60 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: what for?

Visual: Cork broke in half upon opening, solidified sugars at the mouth of the bottle. Pours reddish-orange-purple.

Nose: sweet red grape juice, faint alcohol detection,  (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: very dense sugars, tangy, medium sour-acidity

Mid-palate: (lvl-9)-sweetness, bitter alcohol, lingering acidity, (MAIN) strawberry, concentrated red grape juice

Finish: cloying sugars, mild heat, sickly sweet finish.

Summary: Like the majority of their previous offerings, this one isn’t at all good either. No sensational textures or flavours, just sugary strawberry-grape with a whole lot of roughness throughout. Avoid. If this is their special reserve how bad is their regular batch?

The Little Beaver Zweigelt Icewine 2008 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C+

Zweigelt Icewine 2008 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 13% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“An exceptional Icewine with elegant plum aromatics and cinnamon notes. The flavours of dried fruits and the acidity of strawberry create a perfect balance and long, finish. Try it with brie or dark chocolate.”

  • Style: (Zweigelt) Icewine
  • Taste: Grape-berry fruity alcoholic dense sweet cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $82 (WAY overpriced) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: not worth the price

Visual: It has the dated label of ‘The Little Beaver’ winery, now known as Isabella Winery. Cork half disintegrated upon opening. Pours golden peach-orange with micro sediment, likely from the cork.

Nose: sweet red grape, green muscat, raspberry-apple, mild alcohol nasal tingly. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thinnish viscosity, incoming tangy

Mid-palate: dense (lvl-8)-sweetness mixed with alcohol, (MAIN) red grape, alcohol bitterness.

Finish: sour cherry-raspberry fruity, raisin, residual cloying sugars, alcohol hit

Summary: For the price, my palate was expecting something more extravagant and exclusive. A decent and very drinkable icewine but way overpriced considering Volcanic Hills has one out there for half the price.

Merlot Icewine – Lang Vineyards (Naramata, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C+

Merlot Icewine 2000 (!)– Lang Vineyards, 10.0% ABV – 200ml., (Naramata, BC, Canada)

  • Silver – 2003 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Bronze – 2002 Canadian Wine Awards
  • Gold – 2001 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Gold – 2001 Indiana State Fair Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2001 International Eastern Wine Competition

My Notes:

  • Style: (Merlot) Icewine
  • Taste: Raspberry-plum liqueur with natural sweetness
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot @Cambie
  • How much: $61 (5% off) – 200ml. ($229/750ml btl), January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, clearly overpriced

Visual: 2000!! also the winner of numerous accolades. This has got to blow my mind, right?? Unique red corked bottle with a red wax seal on top. Pours XO Brandy-coloured orange, ultra-clear.

Nose: Raspberry, light raisin, plum, hints of strawberry, very clean aromas (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruity sweetness, fruity sugars

Mid-palate: (9/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) raspberry jam, plum wine, red raisin, red apple

Finish: crisp acidity, clean mild alcohol warmth, tangy sweet fruity finish.

Summary: This drinks like a refined liqueur, but not much more. The sweetness is controlled, body is decent, but lacks complexity and wow factor. Mind blow it didn’t. Also, 14 years cellaring didn’t do anything for this bottle, but I hardly expected it to. I paid $61 for my 200ml bottle. Here’s one asking for $250,000. Rule of Icewines: expensive ≠ more delicious.

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine 2010– Isabella Winery, 13% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A beautiful blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot. The palate is just as pleasing with plush plum notes, a whiff of spice and the characteristic hint of violet. Good body, lower tannin and a warm finish all make this Merlot and Pinot Noir melt in your mouth sensation. Pairs nicely with: prime rib, new york striploin, stuffed portabello mushroom and cheese.” (personally, I wouldn’t drink icewine with a main course…)


  • Style: (Merlot + Pinot Noir blend) Icewine
  • Taste: Sugary straw-cranberry alcoholic juice
  • Where I got it: @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $89 (overpaid, the quality is only worth $40 tops) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, better red icewines out there

Visual: Why did I pay $89 for an icewine whilst most go for $35-$60, and on top of that, a blend?!? Plus I already knew this winery was catering to the “give icewine as gifts” clientele, aka: it’s expensive so it must be good… Anyways, why not, you only live once. It pours auburn (red-orange), ultra-clear, somewhat watery.

Nose: strawberry, minor plum, light-med alcohol detection (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruit sugars, watery-ish mouthfeel

Mid-palate: dense (10/10)-sweetness + bitter-warm alcohol, (MAIN) plum, strawberry, cranberry

Finish: alcoholic warmth + bitterness, tart-roughish mouthfeel, somewhat flat finish (no carry).

Summary: Definitely not worth $89, considering that I could have gotten a bottle of almost anything more complex in flavour than this for that price. Just a standard, or sub-standard if you factor in the price, icewine that consists of fruity flavour and a ton of sweetness. This one lacks depth and fullness to be anything special. Try it if you have absolutely NOTHING left to try…