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


  • 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)”


  • 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.

Optima 2010 – The View Winery (Canada)

Optima 2010 (botrytis affected) – The View Winery, 11.2% ABV -375ml, (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Hand selected at harvest, the Optima varietal shines brightest when affected with botrytis, also known as “Noble Rot”. A succulent dessert wine which shows warm notes of sun-kissed figs, raisins and ripe apricots on the nose and on the palate.”

  • Style: (Botrytis) Dessert Wine
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: sweet red apple/green apple -> apricot/raisin/fig -> clean finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $18 (clearance sale), Sept 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to friends: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear medium-dark golden yellow. Red apple juice on the nose. Drinks with thicker than water but thinner than ice wine viscosity, 8/10-sweetness, pungent red apple, green apple tartness , apricot, light-medium tang/sourness, white raisins, hints of fig, finishing clean without much cloying. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, quite good drinkability. Quite refreshing and never heavy.