Granite Creek Merlot Fortified (Tappen, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Fortified Merlot Wine 2005 – Granite Creek Estate Wines, 18.2% ABV – 375ml., (Tappen, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“Family owned and operated Granite Creek estate wines is located in the heart of the Shuswap amongst tall mountains and lush forests. We are proud to share with you our exquisite handcrafted and award winning wines made from 100% BC grapes. Visit us online at Granitecreek.ca or drop by the winery for a tour. [Are these guys out of business? They haven’t bottle anything since 2009…]

We are proud to present this delicious rich dessert wine produced under the time honored tradition of European Ports. This full bodied port has been aged in French oak barrels and has flavors of blackberry, plum, cassis, raspberry, black pepper, and dark chocolate.

  • Style: (fortified Merlot) Fortified Wine
  • Taste: red fruitiness -> blackberry/plum/cassis -> warmth/tannic finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores (Kelowna)
  • How much: $15 (on sale) – 375ml., summer of 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes (good value)

Visual: 2005, another old bottle that has been cellaring for years. Pours deep dark red with decent legs, no sediment.

Nose: Fruity blackberry-raspberry with smooth acidity. (6/10-pungency)

Attack: incoming sugars and alcohol, dense dark fruits

Mid-palate: (7/10)-sweetness mixed with subdued alcohol, (MAIN) blackberry, plum, cassis (as advertised)

Finish: medium alcoholic warmth, very tannic, medium acidic smooth finish.

Summary: Like Merlot wines, lots of blackberry and dark fruit, but with a balanced sweetness and heat to round out the finish. Solid and very drinkable. Would go supremely well with some kind of chocolate cake/pie/gelato dessert.

Black Mammoth Winter Ale – Fernie Brewing (Fernie, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B

Black Mammoth Winter Ale – Fernie Brewing, 8% ABV – 650ml, (Fernie, BC, Canada)

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast, cocoa, curacao orange peel.

  • Style: (flavoured) Strong Ale
  • Taste Profile: milky sweetened coffee -> chocolate/citrus/roast -> creamy/light sour/bitter coffee finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $7, February 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yah it’s solid for the price
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours extra dark brown with a nice foamy head, good retention, micro CO2, sticky lacing, non-visible activity. Sweet malts and light roast on the nose.

Attack: 6/10-sweetness, creamy/silky mouthfeel throughout

Mid-palate: sweet malts, light roast coffee, creamy chocolate, citrus overtones

Finish: silky buttery mouthfeel, light sourness, light roast-med bitter coffee long finish

Robust, flavourful, full-bodied, and balanced brew from Fernie. Good value for such a delicious beer.

Cherry Chocolate Stout (CCS) – Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery (Canada)

Cherry Chocolate Stout (CCS) – Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery, 5% ABV – 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • Style: Sweet Stout
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $6 (after 10%), May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark cola black, minimal head, micro CO2 and not much retention. Malts and chocolate on the nose. Super silky mouthfeel up front, low carbonation, tastes of chocolate, bing cherries, heavy thick malts, light roasted coffee, and a medium deep lingering bitter finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall a very smooth and appreciable stout with a subtle cherry twist.

Old Cellar Dwellar 2010 – Driftwood Brewery (Canada)

Old Cellar Dweller 2010 – Driftwood Brewery, 11.8% ABV, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

On the extra ad:

“The third release of our now annual winter brew. Barleywine is the biggest of beers! Copious amounts of malt and hops are employed to produce a very limited release of this very special brew. Enjoy the bright and snappy hop character of this beer now and lay down a bottle or two to see how it mellows with time. This beer will last indefinitely- Cheers!”

My notes:
  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: wow smooth and tasty for 12% ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: ~$18 , 650ml., Winter 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orangish-brown, small head, thin lacing, lots of medium-fast moving CO2 streams. Very malty on the nose. 8/10-level sweetness (way sweet) up front, alcohol is detected immediately, transitions into caramel & toffee malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, more alcohol in the mids and finish, brown sugar, medium hoppy finish. Long mellow bitter and malty finish lingers in the mouth. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, great carry, decent drinkability. Alcohol buzz kicks in 1/4 through the bottle. Smooth, beware.

Raspberry Wheat Ale – Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Raspberry Wheat Ale – Granville Island Brewing, 5% ABV, (Vancouver, Canada)

One the front label:

“Raspberry Wheat Ale combines malt, water, hops, yeast and raspberries to create a light wheat ale with a crisp and distinctive raspberry finish. Raspberry wheat ale can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of fresh fruit dishes, fresh salads, chicken or a light meat. It is a must have for summer evenings or a picnic in the park.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I don’t like it: thin-bodied, watery
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 , 650ml, Summer, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not really

Tasting notes: pours clear pinkish-orange with minimal head, a plethora of fast-moving CO2 streams. Aromatic juicy raspberries on the nose. Starts of very promising with flavours of fresh raspberries, strawberries, jam, but ends abruptly with a water mid-palate and flat light malt finish. Low-medium complexity, low-medium depth, below average transitions, crappy carry, good drinkability. While drinkable and refreshing with an outdoor bbq’d meal, I can’t say it’s a good session beer.

Ehrenfelser – Lake Breeze Winery (Naramata, BC, Canada)

Ehrenfelser 2009 – Lake Breeze, 13.8% ABV, (Naramata, BC)

On the back label:

“A Lake Breeze ‘customer favourite’. Flavours and aromas of apricot and peach define this off-dry aromatic wine.”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: good body and balance of fruit and sweetness
  • Where I got it: Lake Breeze Winery
  • How much:  $19, 750ml,  Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: sure

Tasting notes: pours golden yellow/orange, clear and clean. A bit of red apple juice on the nose. Solid depth and richness of up front, 7/10-level sticky sweetness, transitions into flavours of red apple, apricot, and yellow peach. Finishes soft but sugary. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, very good drinkability. It gets a bit heavy after a multiple sips but very good nonetheless.

Blueberry Pail Ale – Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Blueberry Pail Ale – Phillips Brewing, 5% ABV, (Victoria, BC)

On the side of the front label:

“Blueberries blueberries it’s that time of year, to grab them by the handfuls and throw them in beer. It’s crisp and refreshing a summertime treat, straight from our magical beer factory. So if you are looking for fun from an ale, try popping the cap on this blueberry pail.”

  • My Rating: C
  • Why it’s decent: solid drinkability and crispness
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$7, 650ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: If you’ve tried everything else

Tasting notes: pours purplish/red/brown, minimal head, ringed retention with micro CO2, lots of fast-moving CO2 streams. Fruity fieldberries on the nose. Burst of blueberry fruit up front, 5/10-level sweetness, creamy mouthfeel, medium sourness, medium malts, hints of caramel, crisp finish with an off-dry tart finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, okay carry, medium bodied. Decent drinkability and okay to try once.

Strawberry Blonde Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing (Pentiction, BC, Canada)

Strawberry Blonde Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing Company, 5% ABV – 650ml, (Penticton, BC)

  • My Rating: C-
  • Why it’s not awesome: too mild of a strawberry flavour, thin
  • Where I got it: Liberty Wines
  • How much: $7, Oct 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting notes: pours cloudy yellow/orange with barely any head, thin ringed retention, a few slow moving CO2 streams. Very faint strawberries on the nose, otherwise, muted. Creamy mouthfeel initially, tastes of light malt, traces of strawberries, tangerine, tingly and thin mids, and ends with a disjointed and mildly bitter finish. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, not-so good transitions, not great carry, thin-bodied. Beer gets slightly better as it warms but finish is rough body is too thin.

Fruit Dessert Wines – Forbidden Fruit Winery (Cawston, BC, Canada)

Forbidden Fruit Winery, (Cawston, BC)

1) Crushed Innocence 2010 – White Peach Dessert Wine, 13.5% ABV

On the back label:

“Our Crushed Innocence Wine is lovingly crafted from Similkameen Valley White Fleshed Peaches. The gentle crushing of this pure and delicate fruit captures the real heavenly bodied expression of peach elixir. Long considered to be the fruit of the gods, White Fleshed Peaches make a clear, translucent wine, with a full summer bouquet of honeysuckle and wildflowers, with notes of perfume. The velvety smooth flavour bursts with peach and passion fruit plus hints of orange and is wonderful on its own or with fruit salads, desserts and light cheeses.”

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: very drinkable distinct white peach flavour
  • Where I got it: Central City Brewing
  • How much: $14 (after $5 off + 10%), 375ml, Apr/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to wine afficianados: Yes, especially for non-wine drinkers and the gals

Tasting notes (chilled): pours a very light yellow with barely visible sediment, and only slightly thicker than water viscosity. Fruity white peach and lemon peel on the nose. Starts with 7/10-sweetness level white peach, transitions into tangy passion fruit intermixed with a very muddling alcoholic heat and bitterness. Also notes of honeysuckle and wildflower (as advertised). Overall very drinkable but the alcoholic funk distorts the flavour and experience somewhat.

2) Impearfection 2008 – Asian Pear Dessert Wine, 12% ABV

On the back label:

“The Asian Pears we use to make our Impearfection wine, are harvested in the pristine Similkameen Valley. Impearfection embodies the frail and exotic delicacy of the Asian Pear and blends its own sugars and spices. Once grown strictly for the Ancient Emperors, Asian Pear wine is a light gold colour with complex aromas of papaya, mango, wildflower honey, and ginger. This ‘Impearial’ Wine is multi layered and exudes pure flavours of allspice, crème caramel, honey, and tropical fruit. Enjoy this complex wine with Asian Cuisine, Cheesecakes, Crème Brulée, or with an ice cube on the patio.”

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: clean flavour, excellent complexity
  • Where I got it: Central City Brewing
  • How much: $14 (after $5 off + 10%), 375ml, Apr/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Perhaps in a cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to wine afficianados: Yes, especially for non-wine drinkers and the gals

Tasting notes (chilled): pours light yellow with some micro bubbles at the bottom the glass. A bright inviting nose with hints of tropical fruit and lemon. Starts with a mix of mango, papaya, lemon, and honey, and then the gentle 7/10-level sweetness and sugar rush, followed by a slight mellow caramel and allspice finish. Extremely smooth and recommended.

3) Pomme Desiree 2007 – Ice Apple Dessert Wine, 13.5% ABV

on the back label:

“The Apple varieties we use in creating our Pomme Desiree wine, are all grown and harvested in the pristine Similkameen Valley. Six separate varieties make this perfect blend and the unique process of cryo extraction captures the pure natural concentrate of the fruit. Forever destined to be the fruit of Temptation and Desire, Pomme Desiree wine is a beautiful golden colour with complex aromas of candy apple and tropical fruit. Pure expressions of rich ripe apples, cinnamon, and caramel, rule the wines’ taste and it pairs perfectly with appetizers, cheesecakes, Black forest cake, and apple cinnamon pie.”

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: rich & clean apple flavour, smooth
  • Where I got it: @Winery (also Liquor Depot)
  • How much: ~$20, 375ml, Summer 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Perhaps in a cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to wine afficianados: Yes, especially for non-wine drinkers and the gals

Tasting notes (chilled): pours light yellow. Extremely clean apple juice on the nose, with hints of syrupy honey and a bright nectar sweetness. Drinks with 9/10-level sweetness but counterbalanced with a very strong and clean apple juice taste, caramel mixed with soft alcohol, notes of cinnamon, honey syrup, and ends with a slight alcoholic bite. Medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, great carry, great drinkability. Drinks like a super-refined and sophisticated cider sans the bubbles. Hides the alcohol well.

Sitka Mountain-ash Berry Wine – Kermode Winery (Dewdney, BC, Canada)

Sitka Mountain-ash Berry Wine – Kermode Wild Berry Wines, 12% ABV (Dewdney, BC)

On the back label:

“Sure to arouse your olfactory senses this unique off-dry wine is delightful. As these Mountain-ash berries ripen on BC’s coastal ranges in mid September the air fills with their luxurious scent. The harvesters then climb to elevations of up to 4500 ft where they find the land rich with these aromatic berries reminiscent of fluorescent pink pearls, a blessed reward for the long ascent. This wine is fermented to a unique amber color with pink hues and perfumed aromas topped with hints of cinnamon and maraschino cherry. In Europe Mountain-ash is known as Rowanberry.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like it: tart fruit and mild cinnamon
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot (Cambie st.)
  • How much: $25, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine afficianados: Yes only if you want to taste a unique flavour

Tasting Notes: pours translucent blood red, no sediment. Musky wild green vines on the nose. Tastes of a hybrid cranberry/pomegranate with the tartness to match, also cinnamon and maraschino cherry (as advertised). 4/10-sweetness up front with an off-dry finish. Slightly watery mouthfeel and viscosity which ultimately amounts to a lack of depth. Unique flavour profile but one try is enough.