Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006 (Late Harvest) (France)

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  • My Rating: [C+]

Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006, 13% ABV, 500 ml., (Notre-Dame-d’Allençon, France)


from the Domaine de Terrebrune website:

“Famous desert wine, the colour is gilded with green reflections. The nose is fine and subtle, in mouth it expresses the acacia, fern, and citrus fruits. In age the flavours change : honey, lime and stone taste with rifle. Serve it in medium temperature : 12 °C, taste it in apéritif, with a foie gras, white meats, strong cheeses, blue cheeses. A young Bonnezeaux can be serve with shellfish (lobster). The Bonnezeaux is a high-class wine of guard, sometime centenary but ten years is good enough. This wine represents the Chenin from the Loire, an outstanding wine, something very rare.”

-actually, I prefer it at room temperature, around 21°C, so that it becomes slightly more viscous and you get more deep warmth.


  • Style: (Bonnezeaux – Chenin Blanc) Late Harvest Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Tangy sweet light sour acidic apple lime honey nectarine short length
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Granville Island
  • How much: $38 CAD, (after 10% off) – 500ml., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: not worth the $$$

Visual: (2006 Vintage, cellared for 10 years). Pours clear light golden orange.

Nose: tangy citrusy sweet apple-pear. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: chilled=thin viscosity, warm=slightly thick, incoming sugars

Mid-palate: sweet-sour acidic tang, dense (lvl-7-sweetness) sugar hit, medium body, apple, lime, honey, alcohol zingy

Finish: nectarine exhale, woody throat warmth, short flavour finish

Summary: Not particularly memorable since I had a fantastic Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito yesterday [A-]. Somewhat lacking in full bodyness and length, the flavours are simplistically good but over too quickly.

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.

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.

The Little Beaver Late Harvest Optima 2008 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Late Harvest Optima 2008 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 12.7% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A whiff of minerally sulfur on the nose, which leads to a soft, off-dry palate with honeyed tropical fruit character bolstered by some minerally acidity.

…A story of Our Little Beaver… Long time ago we were in our patio enjoying the beautiful view, when suddenly we saw one beaver just running and working beside our winery. The crazy beaver was building his house and he never stops. After few years his family grew up and they became a symbol for Isabella Winery. We protect the environment and our ‘petits’ friends. A ‘chante’ (they must mean enchanté)”

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  • Style: (Optima) Late Harvest
  • Taste: Apple-flavoured alcoholic water
  • How much: $14 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no!
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no!

Visual: Standard skinny frosted dessert wine bottle, genuine cork but tacky “generic” coat of arms with a lion and unicorn (lol). Also a generic VQA matte black shrink capsule. Pours clear golden yellow, clear as water.

Nose: Fruity red apple juice + white grape (6/10-pungency)

Attack: thin + watery = cheap -mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6/10)-sweetness, pineapple sourness, (MAIN) red apple, alcoholic bitterness, almost salty

Finish: alcoholic warmth, residual tang, flat bitter alcoholic finish.

Summary: This has the mouthfeel and depth of the do-it-yourself (they brew it, you bottle it) type wines at winemaker shops. Watery up front, sugars, apple, but then a quick transition to alcohol and bitterness. Almost like apple-flavoured alcoholic water. The View Optima was miles better.

The Stump Jump Sticky (Late Harvest) – d’Arenberg Winery (McLaren Vale, Australia)

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  • My Rating: B+

The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay-Riesling-Semillon-Pinot Gris 2010 – d’Arenberg Winery,11.5% ABV – 375ml, (McLaren Vale, Australia)

On the back label:

“The grapes for the Stump Jump Sticky are sourced from selected Botrytis infected vineyards in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. Botrytis is a vine disease that if carefully managed removes moisture from the grapes leaving behind sugar, fruit acids and minerals resulting in a luscious sweet wine with intense concentrated fruit flavours.”

    • The winery was established in 1912, now over 100 years of winemaking experience and history. Check out the youtube vid:
  • Style: (Late Harvest-Botrytis) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: fruity red apple -> passion fruit/lemon zest/alcohol -> warm/clean fruity finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines
  • How much: $18 (but $15 on the label, overcharged?) – 375ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Visual: They state the label was inspired by an optometrist’s eye chart; interesting but the effect isn’t really there since the font on the bottom row is not much smaller than the top row, imo. Screw-cap top with high quality labeling everywhere. Pours golden apple juice yellow with minute suspended sedimentation.

Nose: Super bright & clean red apple, honey, mild floralness. (8)-aromatic strength

Attack: med-dense fruity sugars, immediate red apple

Mid-palate: (8)-sweetness, (MAIN) red apple, passion fruit, lemon zest, mild alcohol detection (hint) papaya, yellow peach.

Finish: (3)-alcohol warmth, clean dense-fruity finish

Summary: An extremely approachable and sippable wine with manageable sweetness and excellent balance. Great price point for a high quality wine that reminds me of the depth you get from Icewines. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Mt. Boucherie Late Harvest Chardonnay 2004 (Kelowna, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Late Harvest Chardonnay – Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This voluptuous dessert wine entices the palate with aromas and flavours of apricot, pear and honey. Well balanced with a smooth and supple mouth feel that pairs well with lemon cheesecake.”

  • Style: Late Harvest (Chardonnay)
  • Taste Profile: sweetness w/ alcohol -> preserved apricot/apple/honey -> sour/warm bitter/sweet alcoholic finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off), November 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados:

Tasting notes: pours deep rich golden amber orange. Fruity sweet apple and pear on the nose.

Attack: 8/10-sweetness mixed with detectable alcohol

Mid-palate: tangy rich preserved apricot, apple, honey, mild bitterness

Finish: medium sour, slightly oily, light warmth, light-med bitter alcoholic sweet finish

Somewhat interesting because it drinks differently from the bright fruity sweetness that I am used to in dessert wines. I kind of like the rich-bitter-sour depth of this one.

 

Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel 2005 (California, USA)

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  • My Rating: B+

Late Harvest Zinfandel 2005 – Dashe Cellars, 14.1% ABV – 375ml, (Dry Creek Valley, California, USA)

(2005 = Sugar at harvest 40° brix, residual sugar 9% by wt.)

info on the dashecellars.com website:

“Made entirely from grapes grown on the shallow, rocky soils of this steep vineyard, the environment makes the vines struggle to survive, which in turn help the vines create very concentrated, complex grapes.  One of the reasons that we love this vineyard for Late Harvest zinfandel is the wonderful acidity of the grapes.  Even when we wait an extra four weeks or so to harvest the grapes (the average time that we need to leave the grapes to have them turn into Late Harvest) the grapes maintain their acidity.  The resulting wine is always focused and clear—it’s never cloying, and always finishes with a crisp, clean, sweet-spicy note.”

  • Style: Late Harvest (Zinfandel)
  • Taste Profile: deep sweetness -> cherry/cassis/plum/chocolate -> alcoholic/tannic finish.
  • Where I got it : Chateau Louis (Edmonton)
  • How much: $31 (after 5% off), September 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: possibly in the late future
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: 100% yes

Tasting notes: pours deep dark opaque luscious red. Tangy red cherries, cassis, red grape on the nose

Attack: oncoming sugars, soft alcohol detection, 8/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: rich red cherry, black currant, plum, hints of chocolate,

Finish: mildly alcoholic, medium tannic.

Superb balance of flavours, sweetness, drinkability, and price. I would wholeheartedly recommend it and drink again.