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Archive for the ‘Wine Reviews – Port’ Category

Review: Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2017

Although Fonseca is well-known to collectors for their outstanding Vintage Port, the flagship of the brand is Bin 27 Finest Reserve. This blend was launched in Britain about 40 years ago at a time when Port wine was evolving from a style of predominantly young immature wines.

The requirement to decant and finish the bottle before oxidation impaired its flavour meant that Vintage Port Wines were not necessarily the best choice for casual consumption. Fonseca developed a new wine the called ‘Vintage Character’ by blending across different vintages achieving a wine which was consistent in style from one bottling to the next. This new wine shared the same character of the popular Fonseca Vintage Ports; however it could be served directly from the bottle with no need to decant or strain the fines from the bottle.

Fonseca decided to call the new blend Bin 27 and within five years of its introduction it was being sold throughout the World (in almost 30 countries). Today the brand is sold as Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve

“… The nose is rich and fruity with aromas of dark BC Cherries, ripe sliced plums, juicy blackberries and dark black currants. There is a spiciness in the breezes which reminds me of raisins, some twig-like tannins and grape skins as well as hints of cocoa which compliment the ripe fruitiness of the wine …”

Please enjoy this long overdue review of another outstanding Port Wine.

Chimo!

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Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 27, 2016

late-bottled-vintage-2008Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port wine is (as the name implies) a style of Port which is bottled later than the more prestigious Vintage Port. LBV Port wine remains in neutral wood between four to six years, rather than 2 years which would be typical for a Vintage Port. Since Port wine matures more quickly in oak vats than it would in the bottle, it is ready to be served when it is bottled.

However, Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port, (unlike many other LBV Ports) is not filtered before it is bottled, as a result the Fonseca will continue to age and should continue to improve if stored properly.

The wines used to produce Fonseca LBV were drawn from a reserve of some of the best full-bodied red ports produced during the 2008 harvest. These grapes were grown both on Fonseca’s own vineyards as well as on other properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the Douro Valley. The wines are aged in wood vats of 50 pipes (27,500 litres) capacity and then bottled after five years.

Here is a link to my review of this outstanding Port Wine:

Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

“… As the glass breathes things change and I begin to taste the fruity flavours ripe BC cherries and fresh plums. The wine continues to open and stronger sherry-like flavours of raisin and dark fruit advance across the palate along with hints of oak and bittersweet chocolate. When I pour myself a second glass, the fresh fruit practically leaps onto the palate this time. The Port tastes sweeter, and now along with impressions of cherries and plums, I taste blackberries and raspberries along with strong hints of bittersweet baking chocolate and black licorice …”

Please enjoy this review of the unfiltered Fonseca LBV Port, a few more Port Wine reviews will follow in the coming weeks.

Chimo!

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Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 22, 2015

OFFLEY Ruby SAM_1643The subject of this review, is a bottle of OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine. The brand traces its history back to 1737, which was the year that Englishman William Offley founded the company. In 1831, Joseph James Forrester, who was apparently a nephew of the William Offley, joined the company. According to the company website, Forrester was the first person to map the River Douro and its region, and his contributions to the development of the Port Wine trade, earned him the title of Baron which was bestowed by the King of Portugal. In 1997 OFFLEY was purchased by Sogrape, and they are the current owners of the brand.

Red Owl Cooler SAM_1667

Red Owl Cooler

Offley Ruby Porto is a young red wine produced in the traditional Porto method. The crushed grapes (produced in the Douro Region of Portugal) are fermented with the stalks removed, and the resulting wine is fortified and left in the Douro region until the following spring. Then they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia to be matured in oak wood casks at Offley’s centuries old lodges and aging cellars. To make the Ruby Porto, a blend of wines is selected whose ages vary from about 2 years up to 5 years. The resulting wine is then filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine

“… The flavours that develop represent a nice combination of ripe cherry and plum flavours accented by a light acidity and some raisiny spiciness. There is also a chalky mineral-like quality underneath and a bit of tannin-like dryness that reminds me of grape skins which pucker the mouth slightly. Over-all the Offley Ruby Porto is easy-going …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a recipe suggestion which mixes White Owl Whisky with OFFLEY Ruby Port, I call it the Red Owl Cooler.

Chimo!

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Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2015

late-bottled-vintage-2008Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port wine is (as the name implies) a style of Port which is bottled later than the more prestigious Vintage Port. LBV Port wine remains in neutral wood between four to six years, rather than the 2 years which would be typical for a Vintage Port. Since Port wine matures more quickly in oak vats than it would in the bottle, it is ready to be served when it is bottled. However, Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port, (unlike many other LBV Ports) is not filtered before it is bottled, as a result the Fonseca will continue to age and should continue to improve if stored properly.

The wines used to produce Fonseca LBV were drawn from a reserve of some of the best full-bodied red ports produced during the 2008 harvest. These grapes were grown both on Fonseca’s own vineyards as well as on other properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the Douro Valley. The wines are aged in wood vats of 50 pipes (27,500 litres) capacity and then bottled after five years.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008, Bottled 2013

“…   As the glass sits I soon received lush fruity smells of fresh dark BC cherries and fresh ripe plums. I really enjoyed the evolution of aromas as the smells above the glass began with dry fruity aromas and moved slowly to a fuller fresher aroma of ripe succulent fruit …”

I like Port Wine, and in particular, I like LBV Port Wine with its bevy of fresh fruity flavours. Unfortunately, in my particular local we have a rather limited selection of LBV Port and so my reviews of this style of wine are rather scant. However, I can say without a doubt that the Fonsecu Late Bottle Vintage 2008 is a spectacular example of how great LBV Port can be.

Please enjoy the review!

Chimo!

 

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Review: Concha y Toro Late Harvest Private Reserve (2008)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 12, 2013

SAM_0954When the wine industry in Chile was just beginning to get its feet underneath itself in 1883, Don Melchor, a local businesman and politico imported vines from the Bordeaux region of France and began to plant them in the Maipo Valley of Pirque in Chile. These first grapevines from France served as the foundation for what was to become Viña Concha y Toro.

The Concha y Toro Private Reserve is produced in Do Maulle Valley from late harvest Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Higher than normal rainfalls in the Do Maulle Valley at times may produce the appearance of a specific fungus called Botrytis cinerea which affects grapes by absorbing their moisture making them dry. As the fruit loses moisture, its sugar content increases dramatically with the final result being that the “botrytised” or rotten grapes are able to produce an intensely sweet and flavourful wine. It is for this reason that Botrytis cinerea is known by vineyards throughout the world as the “Noble Rot”.

I was provided a 375ml sample bottle of this Noble wine by the good folks at Select Wines who are the local distributors here in Alberta.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Concha y Toro Late Harvest Private Reserve (2008)

“… The Concha y Toro dessert wine brings a laid back style forward with sweet fruity flavours of canned pears and apricot. A light flavour of honeydew melon, a few green grapes and light apple flavours slide across the palate, and of course we have that lovely honeyed sweetness which is characteristic of late harvest dessert wines …”

Please enjoy my review of this delicious dessert wine!

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Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2013

SAM_0903 Croft Pink

Croft Pink advertises itself as the first Pink Port. This new Port style is produced in a manner which handles the Douro Valley red Port grapes in a similar manner to that which is used when producing a non-wooded white wine.  According to the Cort Pink website:

” This vinification method extracts a light amount of colour from the skins without extracting astringent tannins which would make the palate of this light style of Port aggressive. The cold settling prior to fermentation and the cool fermentation are fundamental to enhance the freshness of fruit and its elegance.”

Although the production method is  similar to that used when making white wine, the product is undeniably Port wine. It is made from red grapes in the Douro Valley, fortified with distilled grape spirit, and bottled at 19.5 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine)

“… I noticed that this Port expression is not nearly as assertive in aroma other styles of Port which I have sampled in the past. Light, sweet fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries, green grapes and effervescent grapefruit zest greet my nose …”

I found this wine very much at home in long tall drinks with lots of ice; and, as you will see in the review, I also found a nice cocktail recipe which mixes Croft Pink with Scotch and Apricot Brandy which is very tasty.

Enjoy the Review!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dessert Wine Review, Pink Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine)

Review: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon (2008)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 15, 2013

SAM_0896 Noble OneNoble One Botrylis Semillon which is the subject of this review was created in 1982 by Darren De Bortoli.  Currently the wine has 26 vintages, and has become the standard-bearer for the De Bortoli family. The Noble One is produced from a late hand-picked harvest of the Semillon grape. The agent at work is a specific fungus called Botrytis cinerea which affects the grapes by absorbing their moisture making them dry. As the fruit loses moisture, its sugar content increases dramatically. Other factors may be at work as well with the final result being that the “botrytised” or rotten grapes are able to produce an intensely sweet and flavourful wine. Fortunately for De Bortoli, autumn in the Riverina region (where the Semillon grapes are grown) often sees long, dry, warm days interspersed with a sprinkling of showers and heavy morning dews, an ideal situation for producing the Noble Fungus.

I met Darren Blood the Export Manager (Americas and New Zealand) for De Bortoli Wines at a portfolio tasting for Lifford Wines, who are the local distributors of the Australian Noble One Botrytis Semillon dessert wine. Darren arranged for me to receive a 375 ml sample of the Noble One for review upon my website.

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon (2008)

“… The breezes above the glass were enticing. There is a suave richness in the air which gives me impressions of sweet nectar and honey. I smell full bunches of green grapes, fresh apples and ripe pears. Some vanilla accents these initial impressions and a certain light spiciness reminds me of sandalwood and white oak …”

Please enjoy my review of this succulent dessert wine!

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Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2013

SAM_0749 Quinta de la Rosa LBVQuinta de la Rosa was established in 1906 when the Port house was given to Claire Feueheerd as a Christening gift. Although the family rum Port shipping company was shut down in the 1930s, Claire maintained the vineyards and ran la Rosa. In 1988, Claire’s Grandaughter, Sophia and her father, Tim Bergqvist decided to relaunch Quinta de la Rosa as a small family run winery producing a variety of wines including Port.

Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottled Vintage Port wines are produced from grapes grown in a single year at Quinta de la Rosa. They are matured for between four and six years; but they are not filtered prior to bottling. In the case of the 2007 LBV, this wine was produced from grapes harvested in mid September 2007, and it was bottled almost four years later  in July 2011.

Normally, I would leave a bottle like the Quinta de la Rosa LBV 2007 in my cellar (actually it is a cold room) for several years before I would open it to receive the benefit of bottle aging. However, the particular bottle I have pictured below was given to my by the folks at Thristy Cellars for the purpose of a review. I would expect that whatever scores I assign during this review would actually increase if I were to allow the wine to mature in my cold room.

You may click on the following excerpt for my full review:

Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

“… Over time some faint raisin and cherry notes arose, alongside some some sort of mealy vegetal aroma. It was obvious to me that this wine was going to require a lot of time to bring forward the rush of berry and fruit sensations which I relish in a good Port. So I waited …”

Please enjoy my latest Port Wine Review from the small house of Quinta de la Rosa.

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Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2013

SAM_0744 Calem LBV 2006Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem and remained a family business for 4 generations. Since 1998  however, (although the Cálem family remain with the company as minority shareholders) Cálem has been part of the Portuguese Wine company, Sogevinus SGPS, S.A.

Porto Cálem Late Bottled Vintages are produced from red grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Portugal. The wine is aged between 4 to 6 years in oak casks and in wine vats. Because Cálem filters their LBV’s before bottling, their style of Late Bottled Vintage Port wine does not benefit from further aging in the bottle. It is ready to be served and does not require decanting.

(Note: I received my sample bottle from Woodman Wines and Spirits who advised me that 196 cases Calem LBV Port were to be released through Vintages (in the Province of Ontario) on June 22nd.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

“… The aroma is soft and full of sweet purple fruit as the breezes above the glass bring forward smells of plump fresh dark-red cherries, black raspberry jam, and sticky plum sauce. I seem to smell a vague earthiness under the ripe fruit as impressions of rich damp humus fill soil seem to be hinted at. There is also a light spiciness which for me is reminiscent of wood chips drying in the sun …”

Please enjoy the review of this surprisingly good LBV Port Wine!

(Please note that the problem I had earlier with the above link has been fixed!)

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Review: Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 16, 2013

SAM_0753 Sandeman 2007 LBVThe House of Sandeman traces its history all the way back to 1790 when George Sandeman, an Scotsman from Perth, started a wine business in London. He borrowed £300 (which was quite a sum of money back then), purchased a wine cellar, and began to sell Porto and Sherry from Tom’s Coffee House in London. He expanded his company by establishing an agency in Cadiz, Spain in 1795, and by 1811, he had purchased a wine cellar in V.N. Gaia, Portugal. Although the House went public in 1952, and is no longer a family owned Wine Bodega (House), in 1990 George Sandeman (the seventh generation George Sandeman) reunited the company with the Sandeman family by becoming the managing director. In June 2002, Sandeman became part of the Sogrape Group who also own the Port companies Ferreira and Offley.

Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Ports are produced from the grapes of a single year. The resulting wine is aged for about four years, and then bottled following a slight tuning when it is deemed mature. According to the Sandeman website, their LBV wine is ready to be consumed directly from the bottle, although it may contain some sediment if left unopened for a longer spell.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007) by Charton Hobbes, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port Wine (2007)

“… I nosed and sipped very sparingly on my glass and discovered that it took about 20 minutes for the glass to begin to bring forward a fruit filled bouquet of Bing cherries and ripe red raspberries, although that mineral quality I noticed earlier clung resolutely to the breezes as well. Very faintly, I notice some nice plums and raisin meandering within the scents of the bursting red fruit …”

Please enjoy the review and for those Dads reading my blog, Happy Father’s Day!

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