Raspberry Dessert Wine 2011 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: B

Raspberry Dessert Wine 2011 – Isabella Winery, 11% ABV – 375 ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*)


on the back label:

“This raspberry dessert wine displays intoxicating aromas of fresh picked raspberries and a little plum pudding. On the palate it is richly layered with fresh picked raspberries and a little plum tart. It has just enough sweetness and acidity not to make it tiresome to the palate and the delicate fresh stays in the mouth for minutes after you sip it. Enjoy it with black forest cake, blueberry tart or just by itself.”

(back)


  • Style: (Raspberry) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Tangy authentic raspberry light sour tangy slight cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $17 (after 15% off) – 375 ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommendable: yes
  • What made an impression: rich raspberry

Visual: (cellared for 4.5 years). Pours dirty dark magenta with runny legs.

Nose: tangy raspberry juice (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: rich fruity, zingy subdued alcohol

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), big tangy, juicy tart authentic raspberry, firm sour acidity, slight jammy cloying

Finish: raspberry juice exhale

Summary: Finally after almost 10 misses, an above average and enjoyable dessert wine from Isabella Winery that has flavourful depth and a drinkable balance.

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

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  • 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.”

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  • 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?

Late Harvest Merlot – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D-

Late Harvest Merlot 2009 – Isabella Winery, 13.5% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This luscious Late Harvest Merlot has ripe, spicy aromas and fine plum flavors. It is an excellent choice with chocolate desserts. When properly stored it has a shelf-life of up to ten years. Enjoy it!!”

  • Style: (Late Harvest Merlot) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Alcoholic sweet grape = vodka + grape soda
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $18 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: refund immediately

Visual: Pours clear orange-red with a small bubbles, surprisingly.

Nose: fruity sweet red grape/strawberry/raspberry. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: acidic, hints of effervescence, incoming alcoholic sweetness

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness, bitter alcohol, medium sour-light tart, (MAIN) sour red grape, light raspberry,

Finish: rough lingering acidity, light heat, tangy alcohol bittersweet finish.

Summary: This drinks very jagged in terms of textures and taste. It’s like a mix of vodka and grape soda, or vodka and cider, not clean at all.

The Little Beaver 3-in-1 Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

3-in-one (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) 2011 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 11% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This Ice wine is a blend of the noble grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It has aromas of raspberries, ripe strawberries, creme de cassis and red cherries. On the palate it is a decadent and focused, with flavours of strawberry jam, cherry tart, cassis grastrique [sic] and blueberries. The finish is ultra rich and long. Enjoy this Ice Wine with, Black Forrest Cake, chocolate or cherries Jubilee.”

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  • Style: (Blended) Icewine
  • Taste: Sugary cloying tingly cassis raspberry
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $70 (WAY overpriced) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: refund immediately

Visual: 3-in-1… seems like they weren’t good enough individually or they didn’t want to waste the leftovers. Pours light cola brown with a few tiny bubbles.

Nose: sweet cassis, blackberry, raspberry. Very fruity. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dense fruity sugars

Mid-palate: almost carbonated, tangy acidic, (lvl-10)-cloying sweetness, (MAIN) cassis, raspberry, strawberry, red grape

Finish: continued cloying, watery mouthfeel, berry fruity finish.

Summary: This one exhibits a total lack of balance and composure. Way too much sugar without any warmth, silky texture, or depth. Flavours are decent but the overall impression is a mess.

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

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  • 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.

Vidal Late Harvest – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Vidal Late Harvest 2006 – Isabella Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Deep straw in colour , this light, racy late harvest offers delicate aromas og gingered honey and fresh cut pears. A seamless integration of tropical fruit, pears and fresh hones is nicely balanced with good supporting acidity. Gentle on the palate, this wine can be sipped on its own or may be a delicious finale to a special meal.”

  • Style: (Vidal) Late Harvest
  • Taste: Sour watery apple cider vinegar
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $15 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Visual: When I bought this in 2013 it had already been sitting at their store for 7 years, so how good could it be? At $15 I wasn’t expecting much… Alas, it pours light golden yellow with oddly enough, static micro bubbles clinging to the side and bottom of the glass.

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Nose: apple cider vinegar with a bit of sticky champagne. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming sour-sweet

Mid-palate: watery mouthfeel, (lvl-6)-sweetness that dissipates, salty alcohol detection, (MAIN) apple cider vinegar, pear

Finish: highly sour vinegar acidity, sour white grape unclean finish.

Summary: As a dessert wine, this is pretty abysmal. It doesn’t clean the palate as it should but rather leaves you wondering what you just drank. Unbalanced, thin mouthfeel, non-delicious flavours. Not recommended. Arrowleaf’s Late Harvest Vidal is much better.

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

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  • 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…)

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  • 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…