Fortified Blackberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery (Delta, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: [B]

Fortified Blackberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery, 18% ABV – 375ml., (Delta, BC, Canada)

  • Style: (blackberry) Fortified Fruit Wine
  • Taste: rich blackberry tangy alcoholic light warmth
  • How much: $22 – 375ml
  • Where I got it: @Winery, November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Deep luscious dark purple. Shrink foil wrapped, real cork.

Nose: blackberry juice, vodka vapours (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: incoming tangy sugars + alcohol, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, rich sour-tangy acidity, fruity (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) blackberry, red grape

Finish: residual warmth, black fruit exhale

Summary: Very clean from start to finish with a good fortified alcoholic backbone. I enjoyed this one much more than their fortified blueberry offering.

Fortified Blueberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery (Delta, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: [C-]

Fortified Blueberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery, 16% ABV – 375ml., (Delta, BC, Canada)

on front-right label:

“The Bremner family has farmed the rich soil of Delta, British Columbia, since the 1950s. Today they operate three farms and grow the finest blueberries and cranberries. Their fruit is prized for its intensity, full body and rich flavor, all of which can be enjoyed this evening with best wishes from all of us at the Wellbrook Winery.”

  • Style: (blueberry) Fortified Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Light fruitiness of blueberry mostly alcohol & warmth
  • How much: $19 – 375ml
  • Where I got it: @Winery, November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Visual: Standard thin and tall dessert wine bottle, shrink foil wrapped, synthetic cork, a nice quality label. Pours deep and dark luscious purple.

Nose: grape-blueberry with some muskiness (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming sour acidity, alcohol, thin fruity

Mid-palate: (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) cassis, blueberry, red grape

Finish: light oak, alcoholic dryness, deep throat warmth, minor alcohol tongue numbness, light berry fruit finish.

Summary: Overall just decent. Not particularly lush or aromatic, the flavours just glide along with alcohol and warmth being the main players.

Silverside Blueberry Dessert Wine (Port Style) – Cobble Hill, BC, Canada

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  • My Rating: A-

Blueberry Dessert Wine (Port Style) (NV) – Silverside Farm, 18.0% ABV – 375ml., (Cobble Hill, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“The rich flavour of this wine  comes from the Sweet blueberries picked in British Columbia and ripened to perfection in the long days of summer.”

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  • Style: (Blueberry) Fortified Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Luscious blueberry-black raspberry fruity warm alcoholic
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $24 (after 5% off), ($20 online) – 375ml., March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to buy it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes, but be prepared for the alcohol hit

Visual:All Canadian Wine Championships Silver“. Pours deep magenta, some miniscule cork floaties on the surface.

Nose: Fragrant pressed blueberry juice, very berry-esque. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: incoming deep dark fruit, alcohol

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) blueberries, black raspberry, alcohol detection, raisin -> wine acidity/medium tangy/zing

Finish: medium tart, alcohol warmth, berry fruit finish with lingering tartness.

Summary: Great depth of blueberry flavoured paired with balanced alcoholic warmth. Supremely sippable.

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.

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.

Starboard (fortified Red Wine) – Kettle Valley Winery (BC, Canada)

Starboard (NV) – Kettle Valley Winery,20.0% ABV – 375ml, (Naramata, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“Kettle Valley Winery operates on the Naramata Bench, a strip of land extending 40 km north from Penticton that is one of Canada’s premium wine producing areas. This wine is a fortified blend of MALBEC and PETIT VERDOT grapes from our King Drive vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The grapes were hand picked at approx. 25 brix. The wine was barrel aged in French oak.”

  • Style: (fortified) Dessert Wine
  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: fruity, spicy, and drinkable
  • Where I got it: Taphouse (N. Van)
  • How much: $23, sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours very dark purple-red. Alcohol, cassis, and blackberries on the nose. Starts off with a fruity burst of cassis and blackberries up front, controlled sweetness (8/10), slight sour acidity (3/10),  that smoothly dissipates transitioning in to a light-med tannic lightly spiced oaked, purple table grapes, and raisins. Medium complexity, medium depth, excellent transitions, great carry, fabulous drinkability. Recommended with cheese.

Framboise Fortified Wine – Maui’s Winery (Ulupalakua, Hawaii)

Framboise – Maui’s Winery, 20% ABV, (Ulupalakua, Hawaii)

“made with fresh raspberries, cane sugar, and grape neutral spirit”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: super fragrant and fresh raspberries
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke Liquor (AB)
  • How much: $41 (after 10%), 375ml, Oct/2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes, as a mixer
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes defintely

Tasting notes (chilled): pours a deep, dark and luscious burgundy, thicker than water viscosity. Fragrant raspberries and a touch for strawberries on the nose. Drinks with 9/10-level sweetness but is nicely offset with the high ABV (for a dessert wine) warmth. Smooth, fresh raspberries without the sharp and prickly roughness on the tongue, slight cane sugar maltiness, a bit of a soft alcohol nasal burn from the eau-de-vie, Ciroc grapiness, minor notes of purple grape and  strawberries. Overall very nice balance of sweetness and alcohol, complexity and drinkability. Somewhat aggressive alcohol and the highest ABV of a dessert wine I’ve seen to date. Definitely a shared sipper.